Russia delays Mars probe launch until 2012: report

Sep 16, 2009
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image released in 2005 shows Mars. Russia will pushed back its flagship satellite mission to Mars' moon until 2011 in a move which will delay the joint launch of China's first Mars probe, space sources were cited as saying Wednesday.

Russia will pushed back its flagship satellite mission to Mars' moon until 2011 in a move which will delay the joint launch of China's first Mars probe, space sources were cited as saying Wednesday.

"The prospects of the spacecraft Phobos' flight to was discussed at a conference of scientist and space industry firms today. The dominant opinion was that this flight would be put off until 2011," one source told the Interfax news agency.

The delay, just two month before the scheduled launch, will be officially announced this week by , Roskosmos, the source added.

Russia's Phobos-Grunt unmanned probe aims to land on the Martian moon Phobos to collect soil samples. It was to blast off with the Chinese probe from the Baikonour cosmodrome in Kazakhstan next month.

A later launch date should allow the probe a shorter trajectory for its mission, Interfax reported.

But specialist news site cited industry sources as saying the launch will likely be postponed because the addition of China's 110 kilogramme (242 pound) probe had overloaded the mission.

Russian planners were forced to upgrade from a Soyuz to Zenit rocket causing delays while more tests are needed for the complex mission, it reported.

China's Mars orbiter Yinghuo-1, designed to probe the Martian space environment looking for water, was shipped to Russia in August.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russian Space Agency To Launch Kliper Project

Jul 15, 2005

The Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos) is about to start its Kliper launch vehicle project, the head of the agency told a Moscow press conference Thursday, reports RIA Novosti.

Europe and Russia sign Mars exploration deal

Aug 19, 2009

The European Space Agency (ESA) on Wednesday signed a deal with its Russian counterpart Roscosmos to cooperate on two Mars exploration projects, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

Recommended for you

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

15 hours ago

( —As it soared past Saturn's large moon Titan recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

18 hours ago

Several companies are developing spacecraft designed to take ordinary citizens, not astronauts, on short trips into space. "Space tourism" and short periods of weightlessness appear to be safe for most individuals ...

An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

21 hours ago

Sputnik was launched more than 50 years ago. Since then we have seen missions launched to Mercury, Mars and to all the planets within the solar system. We have sent a dozen men to the moon and many more to ...

NASA image: Sunrise from the International Space Station

22 hours ago

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this image of a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station, to social media on Oct. 29, 2014. Wiseman wrote, "Not every day is easy. Yesterday was a tough one. ...

Copernicus operations secured until 2021

22 hours ago

In a landmark agreement for Europe's Copernicus programme, the European Commission and ESA have signed an Agreement of over €3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus 'space component' between 2014 ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 16, 2009
You would think the weight issue with the Chinese orbiter would have been would have been obvious to the Russians and Chinese well before now. Then, given the past history of Russian probes to Mars (ie Phobos), perhaps this delay will allow a more thorough checkout of critical hardware and software.
not rated yet Sep 17, 2009
I love the whole Headline/Story disagreement about the launch date.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.