ESA station keeps contact with Russian Mars mission Phobos-Grunt

Nov 25, 2011
Credits: SpaceTerra

Following the first successful contact on Tuesday, ESA's tracking station in Australia again established two-way communication with Russia's Phobos–Grunt spacecraft on 23 November. The data received from the spacecraft have been sent to the Russian mission control centre for analysis.

ESA's 15 m-diameter antenna at Perth, , was again used to contact Russia's Phobos–Grunt spacecraft during the night of 23–24 November, with a total of five passes available between 20:19 and 04:08 GMT.

Teams working at the Perth station and at ESA's Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, were delighted to see a clear signal during the first of the passes.

Telemetry received via Perth station

"The first pass was successful in that the spacecraft's radio downlink was commanded to switch on and telemetry was received," said Wolfgang Hell, ESA's Service Manager for Phobos–Grunt.

Telemetry typically includes information on the status and health of a spacecraft's systems.

"The signals received from Phobos–Grunt were much stronger than those initially received on 22 November, in part due to having better knowledge of the spacecraft's orbital position."

The second pass was short, and so was used only to uplink commands – no receipt of signal was expected.

However, the following three passes in the early morning of 24 November proved to be more difficult: no signal was received from Phobos–Grunt.

Working with Russian mission controllers, ESA engineers are carefully studying the situation, which may be related to the spacecraft's communication system. During last night's first two passes, one of the two low-gain antennas on Phobos–Grunt was, due to the spacecraft's orbital position, oriented toward Perth, and communications worked.

During the three later passes, the spacecraft's orbital position changed, and the second, opposing, antenna had to be used – but no signal was received.

"Our Russian colleagues will use this result for troubleshooting and to plan their commands for us to send tonight," says Manfred Warhaut, ESA’s Head of Mission Operations.

ESA engineers will work today to provide advice and assistance on possible communication strategies to consolidate the contact now established with the .

Another five communication slots are available during the night of 24–25 November, and the Perth tracking station will again be allocated on a priority basis to –Grunt.

More news will follow as the situation develops.

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Tausch
1 / 5 (1) Nov 25, 2011
This is good practice. Good practice for what? Good practice for extraterrestrial communication. Until we have perfected this extraterrestrial communication appears premature.
omatumr
1 / 5 (10) Nov 25, 2011
"The signals received from PhobosGrunt were much stronger than those initially received on 22 November, in part due to having better knowledge of the spacecraft's orbital position."

However, the following three passes in the early morning of 24 November proved to be more difficult: no signal was received from PhobosGrunt.

More news will follow as the situation develops.


These reports are intriguing, but contain little information.

Are we that uncertain about the location of the 13.5-tonne spacecraft?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA principal
Investigator for Apollo
http://myprofile....anuelo09
Pirouette
1 / 5 (8) Nov 25, 2011
I hope I'm wrong, but it seems to me that there may be somewhat of a "news blackout" regarding this probe. There is only so much news given out regarding the Russians' dilemma, and quite often, but it's mostly the same basic news over and over again. They put out a small amount of information, but that's all. No word about the volume of fuel; how many miles up is the orbit it's in; in what latitude is it likely to fall. We get better information from the weather stations tracking the flight of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve than this probe.
:)
Jotaf
not rated yet Nov 25, 2011
For a NASA guy you don't seem to know a whole lot about locating objects in space...
MarkyMark
5 / 5 (7) Nov 26, 2011
For a NASA guy you don't seem to know a whole lot about locating objects in space...

He is not a Nasa guy he just puts that in to make him seem more authorative while in reality he is desperatly defending his crazy pet theory while facing seriouse criminal charges.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (6) Nov 26, 2011
They put out a small amount of information, but that's all.
Well that is life in Russia.
jsdarkdestruction
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 26, 2011
Oliver Manuel's recent efforts to plaster Physorg.com and other public news sites with his theories and personal URLs are a bit puzzling, as scientists have a variety of publications available to communicate directly to each other in. My best guess is that he is desperately trying to prop up his legacy in light of his arrest in his university office on 7 charges of rape and sodomy based on allegations by 4 of his own children. The charges have been reduced to one count of felony attempted sodomy, not necessarily because of his innocence, but because of the statute of limitations. One can only guess how the recent charges and decades of family strife have affected his ability to reason rationally and to remain objective while defending his unpopular theories.

http://www.homefa...uel.html

http://mominer.ms...hildren/