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Lost Phobos-Grunt spacecraft to fall in Afghanistan


Mars' moon Phobos. Photo: NASA

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's Mars bound Phobos-Grunt spacecraft which got stuck in an orbit around Earth will fall in southwestern Afghanistan on January 14, according to the US Strategic Command.

The unmanned USD 170 million Phobos-Grunt craft was successfully launched by a Zenit-2 booster rocket on November 9 but it was lost due to propulsion failure and is expected to fall back to Earth next month.

A Ria Novosti report quoting the US Strategic Command said, the spacecraft would enter the atmosphere at 2.22 a.m. Moscow time (22.27 GMT) and fall somewhere between 30.7 Degrees North and 62.3 Degrees East in southwestern Afghanistan near the city of Mirabad.

Phobos-Grunt is Russia's first interplanetary programme for the deep space exploration. The mission aims to land on the Martian moon Phobos and return with rock and soil samples to Earth for further comprehensive scientific research of Mars and its Martian space.

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