Phobos-Grunt probe at the Baikonur space center. Image courtesy RIA Novosti and Oleg Urusov.
Russia may attempt to repeat its mission to Mars’ moon Phobos in 2023, Lev Zeleny, the head of the Russian Space Research Institute told RIA Novosti Friday.
The Russian-led mission Phobos-Grunt (or Fobos-Grunt) was launched on November 9, 2011 but failed to leave near-Earth orbit, partially burnt up in the atmosphere, and its remains fell into the Pacific Ocean.
“For now, the second Phobos-Grunt is being planned within the framework of the Mars-Grunt project. Maybe we will work on it with Europe. A pilot project is under development right now. I do not rule out that the spacecraft will be manufactured by [Russian aerospace company] NPO Lavochkin,” Zeleny said.
“If everything goes according to our plan, the mission could be launched in 2023,” the head of the institute added.
Phobos-Grunt was the first Russian-led interplanetary mission since 1996. It was designed to become the first spacecraft to return a macroscopic sample from an extraterrestrial body since Luna 24 in 1976.
Source: RIA Novosti