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Dead 1,600 pound Russian spacecraft may be visible over Hawaii Friday (Jan 13) before falling to Earth

UPDATED (1/15/12) Note that there is a conflicting report that puts the re-entry of Phobos-Grunt off the coast of Brazil into the Atlantic Ocean. We will update when a definite report comes out. For the latest news of Phobos-Grunt visit the translated Russian website at: tinyurl.com/7pa5bvb

Conflicting data arrives on the site of the crash “Phobos-Grunt”

Category: Project Phobos-Grunt
MOSCOW, RIA Novosti reported. 15/01/2012 22:25

Data on the site of the crash station “Phobos-Grunt” by various sources are different: as reported by RIA Novosti source in the space industry, referring to the Russian ballistics, vehicle wreckage fell into the Atlantic Ocean, the military reported that the place was falling Pacific Ocean.

“The debris fell into the station at coordinates 310.7 degrees east longitude and 18.2 degrees south latitude in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil,” – said the source. According to ballistics, the station has entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 21.59 Moscow time, he added.

Earlier, spokesman for the Defense Ministry troops ASD Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said the wreckage of “Phobos-Grunt” fell into the Pacific Ocean – 1,250 miles west of the island of Wellington.

Earlier Roskosmos assumed that the earth’s surface reached about 20-30 pieces of the spacecraft with a total mass less than 200 pounds, and toxic fuel – dimethyl – burned in the dense layers of the atmosphere at an altitude of approximately 100 kilometers.

“Phobos-Grunt” – the first in 15 years, the Russian automatic interplanetary station, designed to deliver soil samples from the Martian satellite. After starting November 9, 2011 march propulsion plant is not enabled and could not move the unit to the trajectory of flight to Mars . The probe remained in low-Earth orbit, and gradually lost altitude until it entered the atmosphere.

By Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

The 1,600 pound unmanned Russian spacecraft Phobos-Grunt (Grunt means dirt in Russian) is expected to fall back to Earth and Hawaii residents may get a glimpse of it Friday (Jan 13) at 6:22 p.m. low in the Western sky as it moves North. (see the sky chart below)

The spacecraft was launched on November 9, 2011 with a mission to land on Phobos, a moon of Mars, and return soil samples to Earth but experienced a failure shortly after launch. The craft has been stuck in a low Earth orbit, which is decaying, and is expected to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere Sunday, January 14, 2012 at 3:18 a.m. Hawaii time +/- 18 hours according to the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos.

The Phobos-Grunt spacecraft contains roughly 7.5 metric tonnes of highly toxic hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide are on board, according to the head of Roscosmos. It is mostly fuel for the spacecraft’s upper stage. These compounds, with melting points of 2 °C and -11.2 °C, are normally kept in liquid form and are expected to burn out during reentry. Roscomos reports the probability of parts reaching the Earth is “highly unlikely”, and that the spacecraft would be destroyed during re-entry.

Estimated area of ​​impact residues of the device can be determined from the strip surface of the Earth 51.4 degrees south latitude to 51.4 degrees north latitude. This zone reaches the U.S., China, Africa, Australia, Japan, the southern part of Western Europe and Ukraine, but does not include Belarus and much of the territory of Russia, including Moscow. The exact spot, the date and time of their fall is possible to predict, not earlier than one day.

This chart above shows the path of the satellite (the line in the upper right) across the sky Please note that East and West are NOT the 'wrong way round' if you hold the chart over your head to correspond to the view of the sky.

This chart above shows the path of the satellite (the line in the upper right) across the sky Please note that East and West are NOT the 'wrong way round' if you hold the chart over your head to correspond to the view of the sky.

Skychart and Ground Track Plot courtesy of heavens-above.com

Ground track plot courtesy of heavens-above.com

Check the real-time tracking of Phobos-Grunt for position: www.n2yo.com/?s=37872

For the latest news of Phobos-Grunt visit the translated Russian website at: tinyurl.com/7pa5bvb


Possible video of the Russian spacecraft Phobos-Grunt as seen from Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Video of the spacecraft being prepared in Russia.

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