Phobos-Grunt Undergoes Vacuum Chamber Tests

Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft


Experts of Lavochkin R&D prepare Phobos-Grunt spacecraft for electrical tests in thermal vacuum chamber. Ground hardware and harness mating is almost finished. The spacecraft will be accommodated in the chamber in the nearest future. The tests are to confirm spacecraft systems’ proper functioning in the environment close to the real one.

The launch of the spacecraft which is to return soil of Martian moon Phobos to the Earth is slated for late 2011.

In addition to conducting in depth studies of Phobos and Mars, the spacecraft will carry a Chinese sub-satellite that will orbit the planet and instruments from a number of other nations, including France.

The French contributions to the instruments of the mission include:

  • the instrumental suite GAP (Gas Analytic Package) which will be the main mean to characterize the molecular soil composition. It will be constituted of:
    • a Pyrolyser – Thermal-Differential Analyzer (TDA),
    • a Laser Spectrometer (TDLAS),
    • a Mass-Spectrometer (MS),
    • a Gas-Chromatograph (GC).
  • the supply of cameras:
    • two panoramic cameras (PANCAM) at the end of each arm,
    • a pair of stereoscopic cameras (STEREO PAIR),
    • a visible microscope (MICROMEGA VIS).
  • the supply of an infrared microscope (MICROMEGA IR),
  • the participation to the development of TIMM 2 instrument,
  • the participation to the conception of the Planetary Ion Sensor.