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Phobos-Grunt expected to reenter next month
Posted: Sun, Dec 18, 2011, 12:29 PM ET (1729 GMT)
Phobos-Grunt illustration (Roscosmos) Russian officials now believe the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, stranded in Earth orbit since its launch in early November, will reenter some time next month. Officials said late in the week that they expect the spacecraft to reenter between January 6 and 19 based on the current delay of its orbit, an estimate that agrees with outside analysis of the spacecraft's changing orbit. The Mars-bound spacecraft was launched in early November, but controllers lost contact with the spacecraft shortly after entering orbit, and the spacecraft's engines failed to fire to boost the spacecraft towards Mars. Efforts to restore communications with the spacecraft have failed, although an ESA ground station did detect signals from the spacecraft for a brief time in late November. Russian officials have given up hope of restoring control of the spacecraft before its reentry.
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