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Report: Phobos Geront spacecraft crashed in the Pacific Ocean

According to Alexei Zolotukhin, a senior official in the Russian Defense Ministry, the spacecraft crashed about 1,250 kilometers off the coast of Wellington Island, near Chile.

Imaging of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft. Illustration: Roscosmos
Imaging of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft. Illustration: Roscosmos

The experts of the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that the Phobos Grunt spacecraft crashed this evening in the Pacific Ocean.
After circling the Earth for two months, the spacecraft weighing 14.5 tons fell into the Pacific Ocean at 17:45 GMT (19:45 Israel time).

According to Alexei Zolotukhin, a senior official in the Russian Defense Ministry, the spacecraft crashed about 1,250 kilometers off the coast of Wellington Island, near Chile. The crash happened shortly before the scheduled time which was estimated between 17:50 and 18:34 GMT.

As expected, most of the spacecraft's components burned up in the atmosphere, but some components were expected to survive the fire. At this time, it is unclear how many components survived or where exactly they crashed. The Russian space agency estimates that 20-30 components weighing about 200 kilograms could have survived the entry into the atmosphere. The officials also estimated that the toxic fuel would burn up entirely in the atmosphere.
The Russians also say little risk lies in the 10 kilograms of radioactive cobalt-57 that made up some of the spacecraft's scientific instruments.
The spacecraft, whose construction cost reached 165 million dollars, was launched on November 8 to collect soil samples (grunt in Russian - soil) from the reddish moon Phobos and bring them to Earth in a capsule five years later. However, a malfunction that caused the engines not to be ignited left the spacecraft in a low parking orbit, which in the end could not survive and crashed.

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