Roskosmos Delays Phobos-Grunt to 2011

Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft
Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft

As reported earlier, Roskosmos has decided to postpone a planned sample return from the Martian moon Phobos by two years to 2011, citing problems with integration and testing. Or, to put it more bluntly, to avoid the nation’s 21st straight failure at Mars.

The massive 12 ton Phobos-Grunt spacecraft was set for launch next month from Baikonur. It would be Russia’s first mission to the Red Planet since the ill-fated Mars 96 mission, which was lost in a booster failure.

The mission includes the 240-lb. Yinghou-1 sub-satellite supplied by China. This would be the first interplanetary mission by the Asian nation.