Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

ESA Coordinates International Satellite Reentry Campaign For Phobos-Grunt
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Jan 13, 2012

Orbit data for Phobos-Grunt are provided mainly by the US Space Surveillance Network and the Russian Space Surveillance System.

An international campaign to assess the imminent atmospheric reentry of Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars craft is being coordinated by experts in ESA's Space Debris Office. Participants include NASA and Roscosmos as part of the 12-member Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee.

ESA experts are working with international partners in a coordinated prediction campaign focused on Phobos-Grunt, a Russian Mars mission that is expected to largely burn up in Earth's atmosphere in the next few days.

Phobos-Grunt was launched on 8 November 2011 into an initial Earth orbit of 206 x 341 km. The injection into an Earth-escape trajectory to Mars failed, and the spacecraft was declared lost by the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, on 13 December.

On 2 January, a comprehensive reentry prediction campaign for Phobos-Grunt was begun by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), a technical forum for the worldwide coordination of activities related to human-made and natural debris in space.

ESOC in Darmstadt hosts reentry database

ESA's Space Debris Office, located at ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, hosts the IADC reentry event database that is used to exchange orbit data and reentry predictions among IADC members.

Orbit data for Phobos-Grunt are provided mainly by the US Space Surveillance Network and the Russian Space Surveillance System. In addition, European radars based in Germany and France are also providing orbit calculations. Based on this, ESA is issuing reentry prediction bulletins to its Members States.

According to its Russian owners, Phobos-Grunt has a mass of 13.5 tonnes, including about 11 tonnes of propellant, and a body size of 3.76 x 3.76 x 6.38 m, with solar wings spanning 7.97 m.

Large number of uncertainties affect reentry
"Right now, due to the large number of uncertainties in the orbit and space environment affecting the satellite, the indications are that Phobos-Grunt could reenter between 13 and 17 January, between 51.4A degrees N and 51.4A degrees S," says Prof. Heiner Klinkrad, Head of ESA's Space Debris Office.

He adds that this window will shorten as we approach reentry.

"Analyses by Roscosmos and NASA indicate that the fuel tanks, filled with unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine - referred to as UDMH - will burst above 100 km altitude, release the propellant and largely demise thereafter."

"This, combined with a relatively low dry mass of just 2.5 tonnes, means that Phobos-Grunt is not considered to be a high-risk reentry object."

"Roscosmos expects that at most, some 20 to 30 fragments may reach Earth's surface, with a total mass of less than 200 kg."

Since the beginning of the space age, there has been no confirmed report of an injury resulting from reentering space objects.

IADC assesses potentially hazardous reentries
In recent years, IADC members have developed a data exchange network specifically supporting the assessment of potentially hazardous reentries, which allows members to enter and extract orbit data in order to refine reentry predictions.

IADC member agencies include ESA, NASA, European national agencies and the Russian, Chinese, Canadian, Japanese, Ukrainian and Indian space agencies.

Results from the Phobos-Grunt reentry campaign will be used by IADC members to improve reentry models and make future predictions more accurate.

Enhancing Europe's observation capacity
In 2009, ESA launched the Space Situational Awareness Preparatory Programme, which, in part, aims to design a network of surveillance and tracking systems and novel data processing technologies that will enable Europe to build up a complete catalogue of orbiting objects.

This system will provide highly accurate data to reduce the threat from on-orbit collisions and improve predictions of where and when uncontrolled satellite re-entries could occur.


Related Links
ESA Space Debris Office
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Stranded Mars probe could fall to Earth in 11 days: report
Moscow (AFP) Jan 4, 2012
Fragments of Russia's stranded Mars probe Phobos-Grunt could fall to Earth on January 15, the spokesman of Russia's military space forces told Russian news agencies on Wednesday. "As of Wednesday morning, the fragments of Phobos-Grunt are expected to fall January 15, 2012. The final date could change due to external factors," said spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin, quoted by the Interfax news agen ... read more

Lunar orbiter spots moisture locations

'Mini moons' may surround Earth

Rare Moon mineral found in Australia

Ecliptic Shoots for Moon at End of a Record Year

Mars Express spots wrinkle ridges and grabens in Tempe Terra

Mars Science Lab Completes Biggest Maneuver On Route To Mars

Stranded Mars probe to crash into ocean Sunday: Russia

Russia was well aware of Phobos-Grunt mission risks

The gadgets which stood out at CES

Smart appliances set to transform the home

Boeing begins NASA solar electric propulsion study

Solid state Swiss Army Knife can save digital lives

China launches Ziyuan III satellite

Spying on Tiangong

China's space ambitions ally glory with pragmatism

Why The X-37B Is Not Spying On Tiangong

ISS Team Undertakes 'EPIC' Event

Photographing the International Space Station from Your Own Backyard

New crew arrives at international space station

NASA 'Smart SPHERES' Tested on ISS

Canaveral has busy 2012 launch schedule

China to launch Bolivian satellite in 2013: Chinese Ambassador

Ariane 5, Soyuz, Vega: Three world-changing launch vehicles

Satellites: Europe's Arianespace sets 13 launches for 2012

Scientists Discover a Saturn-like Ring System Eclipsing a Sun-like Star

Planets around stars are the rule rather than the exception

Milky Way teaming with 'billions' of planets: study

Kepler Mission Finds Three Smallest Exoplanets

Lens makers focus on smartphone cameras

CES gadgets bringing the "Matrix" to life

Apple suspends iPhone sales at China stores

ESA Coordinates International Satellite Reentry Campaign For Phobos-Grunt

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement