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ESA Ends Attempts To Pick Up Phobos-Grunt Signals

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the sticking-with-smoke-signals-for-now dept.

Space 40

Spaceflight Now reports that hope has faded in the attempts to hear from the troubled Phobos-Grunt probe, and the listening project has been shuttered. After the craft's launch, says the article, "ESA continued trying to establish communications this week with tracking stations in Australia and the Canary Islands, but the 29,000-pound Phobos-Grunt spacecraft never responded. ... The agency's communications site in Perth, Australia, contacted Phobos-Grunt at least twice Nov. 22 and Nov. 23, but the probe has remained mysteriously silent since then." (Similar coverage also at the BBC.) See RussianSpaceWeb.com for a more detailed timeline.

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Big Fucking Deal (-1, Offtopic)

mgabrysPDX (2518126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248268)

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Re:airmaxtnskosalg.com-nike air max tn kvinder sko (1, Funny)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248386)

Gesundheit!

QC vs FSB (2, Insightful)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248358)

Still a few quality control problems. Perhaps Mr. Putin should focus on things that will help grow Russia's future rather than its war machine and faded empire. Besides, it's China that is more likely to take Siberia away from them.

Re:QC vs FSB (3, Informative)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248608)

When the tests of the flight sequence finally started, the flight control system reportedly was not able to score a single clean run of its entire flight program without experiencing some sort of problems.

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_2011.html#bku [russianspaceweb.com]


So onboard computer which controls the flight basically did not pass any pre-flight test. "Let's try, if it fails also in real, not only during testing..."

Re:QC vs FSB (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248636)

"As a time-cutting measure, the spacecraft developers reportedly discussed the possibility of launching the spacecraft with only partially completed flight software. The rest of the code responsible for later phases of the mission could be uploaded into the spacecraft's memory en-route."

Yes, that sounds like a great idea!

Re:QC vs FSB (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38249200)

"As a time-cutting measure, the spacecraft developers reportedly discussed the possibility of launching the spacecraft with only partially completed flight software. The rest of the code responsible for later phases of the mission could be uploaded into the spacecraft's memory en-route."

Yes, that sounds like a great idea!

Well, if it cuts cost enough to be able to afford a second try it is.

Re:QC vs FSB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38252732)

shoulda put in the bootloader

maybe they simulated that the loose antenna
to vibrate into place during launch

Re:QC vs FSB (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38250106)

That is an incredibly damning report. No prototype. Minimal testing. Rewiring the steering controls (and I mean soldering and unsoldering) while the fueled craft is on the pad. Whatcouldpossiblygowrong? If that report is to be believed, hell, if half of it is to be believed, there is no way that probe would have made it there.

One thing that really bothers me - no description of sterilizing the craft. In fact, if you're rewiring on the pad, that implies that it's not sterile (and your staff isn't particularly sane). It's fine if the Russians want to play around blowing up things around earth. It's what humans do - but it would be much better if they behaved responsibly.

Here's a real mindbender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38252528)

Maybe it was never meant to reach Mars in its current form?

Send the craft up, make sure it stops at orbit. Then make modifications to it, hook it up with new fuel. Wait for a suitable window and launch it, send it on its merry way. Survey Phobos, survey Mars. Keep the results private.

Re:QC vs FSB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38251910)

Perhaps Mr. Putin should focus on things that will help grow Russia's future rather than its war machine and faded empire.

Russia seem to be doing quite well out of their space program. Roskosmos make a healthy amount of money from launching private satellites. Russia are currently the only route to the ISS, and it was Russian RD-180 engines lifting the Atlas rocket that launched the American Mars Science Laboratory last week.

in space, (4, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248370)

no one can hear you grunt

Re:in space, (-1, Offtopic)

Jacobdixon (2481764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248764)

no one can hear you grunt

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Re:in space, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248898)

Die in a fire you jingly piece of shit

Re:in space, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38250456)

As a time-cutting measure, HiddenBrains reportedly discussed the possibility of launching the spacecraft with only partially completed flight software. The rest of the code responsible for later phases of the mission could be uploaded into the spacecraft's memory en-route.

Anyone can Epic Fail. For Galactic Fail call HiddenBrains.

Phobos is in a huff . . . (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248404)

Controller: ". . . Phobos . . . ? Hello, . . . Phobos . . . ? . . . "

Phobos: No response

Controller: " . . . Phobos . . . is it something I said . . . ? . . . "

Phobos: No response

Controller: "Listen, if you don't tell me what's wrong . . . I can't do anything about it . . .Phobos . . . ?"

Phobos: No response

Controller: "I tried to call you . . . really . . . many times . . . but you didn't answer . . . "

Phobos: No response

Controller: "Look, I know what you're thinking, but that Chinese Probe means nothing to me. I was just monitoring it . . . Phobos . . . ?"

Re:Phobos is in a huff . . . (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38250114)

Maybe they should let Siri try and talk to it.

They Named It Wrong (0)

Froggels (1724218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248452)

It should have been called "Whimper".

Refusal by United States to help? (-1, Redundant)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248530)

If what I read at the russianspaceweb,com site is true, that NASA refused (or was prohibited) to help revive this craft merely because of the presence of a Chinese component, well... that has gotta be THE most small-minded juvenile thing my government has done lately.

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (5, Informative)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248594)

This rumor is not true.

Please see official answer to this from NASA:
http://www.marstravel.org/2011/11/response-from-nasa-regarding-assistance.html [marstravel.org]

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248624)

It's good to know that's one Bad Thing my government actually hasn't done. Now if they'd just stop doing the dozens/hundreds of other Bad Things, the forecast would be truly rosy.

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248938)

At least were not china, or india, or thailand, or indonesia, or rwanda, or uganda, or... most places.

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38249932)

I notice your short-list of examples conveniently excludes ALL reasonably comparable nations with similar values, lifestyles, and economies.

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38249168)

And next:
Wolves accused of eating sheep!
This rumor is not true! Please see the official answer from the lead wolf!

I'm not saying the rumor is true. I'm saying that this is the wrong side to debunk that rumor.

The best way to find a trustworthy statement, is to get it from the one source that hates saying it most.
Like the Koch brothers' study showing that global warming exists.
Or in this case, the Russians.

Of course you still have to look out for traps, like wolves in sheep's clothing. But... you know what I mean.

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38249446)

That has to be the lamest debunking I've ever read. For those who don't follow the link, it's basically this:

Blog: "Hey, NASA, did you really refuse to help with the probe?"
NASA: "Huh? The what now? Oh, no, um, 'course not. But you're asking the wrong group at NASA. You want the Mars division."
Blog: "Oh, OK. So, Mars division, is it true you refused to help?"
Mars division: "Huh? Oh, um, no?"
Blog: "OK! Rumor debunked!"

It's less a debunking and more a "NASA PR is too incompetent to bother answering your question."

I suspect the real answer is "NASA refused to help, but not because of the Chinese probe, but because they're jingoistic assholes."

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248616)

If what I read at the russianspaceweb,com site is true, that NASA refused (or was prohibited) to help revive this craft merely because of the presence of a Chinese componen

In NASA's defense, they probably couldn't do a thing about it and probably weren't asked to. I doubt the story is legit.

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (0)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248644)

It's not, read the other reply!

Re:Refusal by United States to help? (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248708)

I did after I posted my reply. It wasn't there when I started my post.

This is a bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248634)

They will tell John Romeros head how to get back to Earth if they do that!

Sad day (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248716)

I was in the control room here in Darmstadt when this conversation was ongoing. It's never a happy moment when you stop trying, but that's nearly 4 weeks now.

This might set back Russian space programs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38248902)

for another 15 years, just like Mars96 did.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_96

I guess... (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38248916)

...the Leather Goddesses got it.

I bet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38249156)

...it's farming bitcoins.

Doom (2)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#38249170)

This sounds strangely familiar..

Coming Down ~ Early January (3, Interesting)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38250012)

From satellite orbit data posted at http://www.n2yo.com/?s=37872 [n2yo.com] I'm estimating it will re-enter in the first few days of January. Current decay rate is 1 km per day in average altitude from an orbit that is 215 km low x 310 km high points. This will double in about 14 days as it encounters thicker atmosphere, with doubling times cut in half each 20 km of height until it hits 120 km or so on it's last orbit. Since it has a large amount of fuel in tanks not protected by heat shields, it will a unique and spectacular "rapid disassembly" whenever reentry heating causes the tanks to fail. My best guess is around 80 km altitude.

New contest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38250792)

Who can hack and re-purpose the probe before it reenters the atmosphere.

Only one rule;

1. The probe must escape earths gravity before reentry.

Let the fun begin!

Bummer. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38250836)

It really would be nice to see samples come back. My guess is that the next real choice will be around 2018 by America with red dragon. I would not be the least bit surprised if we send a small probe to phobos and diemos to grab samples. IDEALLY, we would grab from mars surface as well.

My ears! My ears! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255488)

Phobos-Grunt. Most cacophonous satellite name ever.

Our Future in space exploration (1)

Z0mb13M0nkey (2466756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256820)

This is why we need to re-establish our new space crafts. We had them all set up to go and then....NO!! No funding for you. It would create jobs with the manufacturing, and best of all could create revenue with other countries paying us to shoot their stuff into space. Instead we have to rely on these yahoos to shoot it up for us...We're doomed.
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