Russia’s Mars probe, Phobos-Grunt, launched on November 9, 2011 and originally intended to be well on its way to Mars has been stranded in Earth orbit since a main engine failure in early November. The spacecraft is now sinking back into Earth’s atmosphere, with re-entry expected in mid-January.
Most of the spacecraft will burn up in the atmosphere, although some pieces may survive reentry. Using AGI’s analysis and visualization software, AGI aerospace engineers created this video depicting:
• Planned Phobos-Grunt mission
• Resulting low-Earth orbit
• Communications to ground stations
• Estimated debris region
• Burn-up at reentry
Video of a passage of Phobos-Grunt over France on January 1st 2012, at a distance of 237 km. The satellite is moving from left to right and the Sun is on the right, the consequence being that the solar panels (on the left) do not receive sunlight.
More details and interpretation on http://legault.perso.sfr.fr/phobos-grunt.html . Credit : Thierry Legault & Emmanuel Rietsch
Phobos-Grunt: Satelitte tracker