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International Space Flight (ESA, Russia, China and others) => Russian Launchers - Soyuz, Progress and Unmanned => Topic started by: Chris Bergin on 11/13/2011 08:13 pm

Title: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/13/2011 08:13 pm
The main thread, at 460 posts and 160,000 reads, is too long and convoluted to be managed, so we're starting this new thread for troubleshooting updates.

This thread will convert to a mission thread if efforts are successful (I know that's not likely). Otherwise the thread will convert into a failure thread through to the spacecraft's re-entry.

Resources:

Pre-Launch:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15610.0 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15610.0)

Launch Updates:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15610.165 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15610.165)

Launch Article:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-zenit-2launch-fobos-grunt-sample-return-mission-to-phobos/ (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-zenit-2launch-fobos-grunt-sample-return-mission-to-phobos/)

Post S/C Sep, leading into notes of a problem:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15610.330 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15610.330)

Fobos-Grunt Issue Article:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/russian-engineers-stricken-fobos-grunt-spacecraft/ (http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/russian-engineers-stricken-fobos-grunt-spacecraft/)


This thread follows on from the problem notes thread. All posts need to be worthwhile and specific to spaceflight. Any posts which are rambling, political, or armwavey and not to the standard of this thread will be removed, but also should be reported to mod to draw attention to the need for action.

Come on Fobos-Grunt! Say something!!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/13/2011 08:16 pm
Some recent update notes:




http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/content/news.shtml

The Russian interplanetary probe Phobos-Grunt is able to correct its orbit using its own engines, says Igor Lisov, an editor of Novosti Kosmonavtika.

A source from the space industry has informed RIA Novosti that during the last three days the height of the apogei has been lowered to 6.5 kilometers, while the height of the perigee (which had to lower too), had risen to a kilometer due to unknown reason.

The observed data is best explained bu the fact the probe keeps its own orientation due to periodic activation of the engine. This is not something that's commanded from Earth - Phobos-Grunt lives its own life. But it cannot talk.

Very interesting!

From ISS On-Orbit Status Report for 13/11/2011.

Phobos-Grunt Visibility:
The ISS crew was notified of viewing/photographing opportunities for the stranded Phobos-Grunt Mars probe from the DC-1 VL-1 and MRM-2 windows as it crossed the ISS trajectory this morning at 4:06:16 AM GMT and 4:52 AM GMT.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/13/2011 09:17 pm
...
Very interesting!

From ISS On-Orbit Status Report for 13/11/2011.

Phobos-Grunt Visibility:
The ISS crew was notified of viewing/photographing opportunities for the stranded Phobos-Grunt Mars probe from the DC-1 VL-1 and MRM-2 windows as it crossed the ISS trajectory this morning at 4:06:16 AM GMT and 4:52 AM GMT.
Interesting, indeed. Did they snap any photos, and how far was the closest approach?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/13/2011 09:33 pm
I don't understand what could possibly be gained by attempting to photograph it from ISS. They won't be able to resolve it any more than ground observers can without a powerful telescope.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/13/2011 09:42 pm
I don't understand what could possibly be gained by attempting to photograph it from ISS. They won't be able to resolve it any more than ground observers can without a powerful telescope.
Depends on how close the pass is, though, doesn't it? Earth-based telescopes are usually limited by seeing to usually worse than the large telephoto lenses on ISS, and the ones that aren't limited by seeing usually have far lower slew-rates than required, whereas I think ISS has a system set up for higher slew-rates (do they still have that set up? okay, probably not, but it was a kludge anyway... an awesome kludge).

If it's a very close pass, it could be several times closer than any ground observation, thus possibly allowing several times greater resolution, if they can track it well enough.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/13/2011 09:46 pm
I don't understand what could possibly be gained by attempting to photograph it from ISS. They won't be able to resolve it any more than ground observers can without a powerful telescope.
Depends on how close the pass is, though, doesn't it? Earth-based telescopes are usually limited by seeing to usually worse than the large telephoto lenses on ISS, and the ones that aren't limited by seeing usually have far lower slew-rates than required, whereas I think ISS has a system set up for higher slew-rates (do they still have that set up? okay, probably not, but it was a kludge anyway... an awesome kludge).

System?  Not sure about that, but a person holding a camera can do 90° per second or so.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 11/13/2011 10:05 pm
I don't understand what could possibly be gained by attempting to photograph it from ISS. They won't be able to resolve it any more than ground observers can without a powerful telescope.

I can't see it proving any useful information either, even with an image stabilized lens with, IIRC, 1200mm max effective focal length with current assets, which when hand held and 1/8 sec maximum shutter speed (which is borderline, better with 1/30 sec).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/13/2011 10:09 pm
Depends on how close the pass is, though, doesn't it?
The orbits cross at almost right angles, so the time of closest approach will be tiny. I haven't worked out what the closest possible approach is, but if the perigee and apogee lined up perfectly (which I'm sure they don't), it would be ~40km. Now think about when visiting Soyuz and Progress start to be visible...

The only values I can see to this are
1) Sentimental. I'd certainly give it a try if I was on ISS.
2) Video could possibly provide confirmation of whether the spacecraft was tumbling.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/13/2011 10:13 pm
Also, F-G would pass under the ISS when it's near so unless you want to lose it in the clouds, the ground below should be in the darkness while F-G is not.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: clongton on 11/13/2011 10:13 pm
I don't understand what could possibly be gained by attempting to photograph it from ISS. They won't be able to resolve it any more than ground observers can without a powerful telescope.

I can't see it proving any useful information either, even with an image stabilized lens with, IIRC, 1200mm max effective focal length with current assets, which when hand held and 1/8 sec maximum shutter speed (which is borderline, better with 1/30 sec).

It's always possible that the inability to communicate may be due to a broken antennae or cable. A close-up photo from ISS may be able to provide that data. In any case a telephoto lens photo from the ISS will be better than any ground-based telescope could provide.

I'm really pulling for our Russian friends. I hope they can save this mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/13/2011 10:15 pm
It's always possible that the inability to communicate may be due to a broken antennae or cable. A close-up photo from ISS may be able to provide that data.

My 2c? No frickin' way.

I'll also add that even if they managed to pull off a miracle an regain control of it, the orbital plane its in by now is probably too far out of alignment with the desired TMI asymptote to be able to salvage the mission. The 180 deg nodal rotation on the other hand could happen too late to catch the end of the Mars launch period.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 11/13/2011 10:17 pm

I'm really pulling for our Russian friends. I hope they can save this mission.

Oh don't get me wrong, I am too, 100% (selfishly thinking of the science lost more than the hardware at this point).

I would only add that I wish there was a way to 'boost' the signal if the antenna is indeed being obstructed in any way, perhaps that being enough to get through to the spacecraft.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/13/2011 10:19 pm
40km is far closer than the ~200km elevation Phobos-Grunt orbits (though obviously 40km is a best-case scenario).

This is what I was thinking about, by the way:
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/crew-6/html/iss006e44305.html
This is an old photo, and I believe that has been long disassembled, but it is a little better than just hand-tracking.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Space Pete on 11/13/2011 10:32 pm
This is what I was thinking about, by the way:
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/crew-6/html/iss006e44305.html
This is an old photo, and I believe that has been long disassembled, but it is a little better than just hand-tracking.

Yup, that was mounted in the Lab window, where the WORF rack now resides. Phobos-Grunt was only visible out of the Pirs and Poisk module windows - which are angled forward-starboard, forward-port, aft-starboard, and aft-port.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/14/2011 12:17 am
Let me add my 2 kopecks to the mystery of the orbit rise and its hypothetical connection with attitude control firings.


The effect that is being postulated was called 'cross-coupling' in the MCC when I worked there, and reflects the fact that small thrusters which are dedicated to specific translational or rotational modes are rarely 'pure' in their force. Along with major intended contribution to specific roll/pitch/yaw and X/Y/Z translation, they induce forces in other modes as well, sometimes minor, but not always so.

Best example: attitude hold for the Orbiter using vernier jets. Since the verniers used are all down-firing, an attitude deadband is maintained by the autopilot alternately firing nose down jets, then tail down jets. The result was a 'creep' in the +X direction, in translation. Such an unexpected creep, overlooked by some consoles, was actually at the root of a major navigation crisis while I was on duty on a mission I am not yet at liberty to disclose -- a crisis I'm happy to brag that I solved as the lead 'Rendezvous and Guidance Procedures Officer'.

Translational cross-coupling was also at the heart of the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999, when the outbound cruise experienced higher-than-planned effects due to the assymetry of the solar array, requiring frequent rotational correction burns that added up to a significant translational deviation. It was THAT deviation, which was mis-entered into cruise navigation based on the tables being in the wrong units, that created the navigation error that [together with management's refusal to listen to the navigators' intuitive concern based on their DETECTION of the cumulative error but their inability to spend enough manpower to chase down its root cause] that led to flying the perfectly-good spacecraft into the martian atmosphere.

Now, here's how this reflects on Phobos-Grunt. Translational cross-coupling is most in evidence when the spacecraft attitude profile is such that the series of small extraneous forces are cumulative -- that is, adding up in the effectively same direction.

For orbital altitude effects, that direction is posigrade [or retrograde], along the velocity vector. That was the case for STS-[oops, almost typed it in!], and for MCO.

But we are given to understand that Phobos-Grunt may be holding attitude in solar inertial orientation, to maximize power. This is NOT the LVLH [local vertical local horizontal] attitude of the shuttle, or for that matter, ISS.

In practice, solar inertial pointing clocks completely around the sky once every rev.

This suggests to me that any translational cross coupling from such repeated burns would for the most part cancel out. Those that fell far off the velocity vector would not alter orbital energy and hence not affect altitude/period.

Or at least they would cancel if the sun were nearly in the probe parking orbital plane. If the probe-sun vector is significantly out of plane, some assymetry could indeed be occurring.

Does anybody have the 'beta angle' for the probe -- the angle of the line-of-sight to the sun based on the orbital plane [with time tag]? An easier question -- what's the delta RAAN between PhG and ISS, since we know the beta angle of the latter.

 

   
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: FinalFrontier on 11/14/2011 12:24 am
Okay. So If I have this straight their going to try taking a video or pictures of the spacecraft from ISS to see if its tumbling or is otherwise damaged? Did they actually take pictures?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/14/2011 12:32 am
But we are given to understand that Phobos-Grunt may be holding attitude in solar inertial orientation, to maximize power.

Are we?  I wasn't under that impression.  Could it be that it is holding LVLH in anticipation of the burns that didn't occur?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nickolai on 11/14/2011 12:43 am
Okay. So If I have this straight their going to try taking a video or pictures of the spacecraft from ISS to see if its tumbling or is otherwise damaged? Did they actually take pictures?

I don't think there was any indication that ISS personnel were going to inspect for damage. As far as I understand it, ground controllers were simply informing the crew that there will be a close pass, and it's up to the crew to decide what they want to do with that information.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/14/2011 12:46 am
But we are given to understand that Phobos-Grunt may be holding attitude in solar inertial orientation, to maximize power.

Are we?  I wasn't under that impression.  Could it be that it is holding LVLH in anticipation of the burns that didn't occur?

Well, that's possible -- but if so, why, and with what sensors? Too bad neither Roskosmos nor Lavochkin are providing such basic information.

Visual tracking strikes me as highly important, as often as possible, to watch for any plumes that suggest prop release from one of the dozens of tanks. There seems to be no other way to detect such an eventuality.

Not that there's anything to be done about it, of course.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/14/2011 01:08 am
Jim, Can I make a suggestion, and feel free to shot it down.

Quote
In practice, solar inertial pointing clocks completely around the sky once every rev.

True, it should, but the rub is, part of each orbit is in earths shadow.

What does it do at that point? Go searching for the sun? Just hang out making no adjustments? Could the "shadow" behavior be why the adjustments are not fully canceling?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/14/2011 01:11 am
Let me add my 2 kopecks to the mystery of the orbit rise and its hypothetical connection with attitude control firings.
Thanks for that detailed explanation.

One other thing that occurs to me is that Phobos-Grunts perigee is quite low (214km per http://www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=37872 ), so it could be fighting noticeable torques for part of the orbit.
Quote
An easier question -- what's the delta RAAN between PhG and ISS, since we know the beta angle of the latter.
According to the above, PhG RAAN is 333.5837, vs 127.2529 for ISS.
 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/14/2011 01:22 am
But we are given to understand that Phobos-Grunt may be holding attitude in solar inertial orientation, to maximize power.

Are we?  I wasn't under that impression.  Could it be that it is holding LVLH in anticipation of the burns that didn't occur?

Well, that's possible -- but if so, why, and with what sensors?

I have no idea as to how, but as to the why, wouldn't you want +x aligned with the velocity vector to make an orbit-raising burn?  Wasn't that what the first burn was to be?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/14/2011 03:25 am
Let me add my 2 kopecks to the mystery of the orbit rise and its hypothetical connection with attitude control firings.
Thanks for that detailed explanation.

One other thing that occurs to me is that Phobos-Grunts perigee is quite low (214km per http://www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=37872 (http://www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=37872) ), so it could be fighting noticeable torques for part of the orbit.
Quote
An easier question -- what's the delta RAAN between PhG and ISS, since we know the beta angle of the latter.
According to the above, PhG RAAN is 333.5837, vs 127.2529 for ISS.

Does that put them ~154 deg out, about as close to opposite as can be, and making any pass very quick?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/14/2011 04:02 am
Does that put them ~154 deg out, about as close to opposite as can be, and making any pass very quick?
I believe so, see plot here: http://www.n2yo.com/?s=37872|25544 (http://www.n2yo.com/?s=37872|25544)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jorge on 11/14/2011 04:56 am
But we are given to understand that Phobos-Grunt may be holding attitude in solar inertial orientation, to maximize power.

Are we?  I wasn't under that impression.  Could it be that it is holding LVLH in anticipation of the burns that didn't occur?

Well, that's possible -- but if so, why, and with what sensors?

I have no idea as to how, but as to the why, wouldn't you want +x aligned with the velocity vector to make an orbit-raising burn?  Wasn't that what the first burn was to be?

I'd assume any +XVV pointing went the window once the spacecraft went into safe mode.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Cbased on 11/14/2011 08:22 am
Another official update:
http://www.federalspace.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=18258
I will translate the main bits. (This was all said by the head of Roskosmos Popovkin)

We have time till January (inclusive), the SC will stay on orbit. But the launch window closes in early December.

There is still a chance but we still can't receive any telemetry to understand what happened. The problem is that tracking stations are slow and "Phobos" is on an unplanned trajectory, hence the communication session lasts for only 7 minutes.

All systems of the spacecraft work nominally, it has got sun orientation, so we do have chances. At the moment specialists (engineers) conduct attempts to upload software.
 
To answer journalists' questions when it would be possible to say about the "spacecraft death", he said "it would be possible to talk about it in early December when the launch window is closed. We can start the predictions of the end of "Phobos" when orbit degradation reaches 180km.

He has also rejected rumours that the spacecraft had constructive defects. 
 
He has also highlighted the fact that there is no danger for Earth. There is no doubt that the spacecraft will explode upon the reenty (to the denser layers of atmosphere)

------
My own comment: "All systems of the spacecraft work nominally" - I wonder how do we know this if there is no telemetry?

Any news from ISS?
 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Cbased on 11/14/2011 11:08 am
A slightly different version from RIA
http://ria.ru/science/20111114/488192899.html

The problem is the band/range - all our stations were designed for far/distant space. Phobos-Grunt is on an unplanned orbit of approximately 200km. The comms session with each of the measurement stations doesn't exceed 2 minutes (CBased: Note, this is different from 7min in the previous article)

There are several actions underway. Firsly, it is the acceleration (speed up) of the turning mechanisms. Secondly, it (the SC) was designed to start working at a distance of tens of thousands of kilometers from Earth, so the power of transmitters were tuned accordingly. We were afraid to "burn" SC with such strong signal. That's why there will be some preparation activities that we need to do.

Currently the window has been made wider and the power of transmitters has been reduced. The same was done by our partners at ESA at their 2 stations. That's why I am saying that we still have chances.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/14/2011 11:21 am
Does that put them ~154 deg out, about as close to opposite as can be, and making any pass very quick?

OK... Now somebody with competence in spherical trig can please take these two planes with this RAAN difference, and calculate their actual out-of-plane value -- the angle between their two planes, not just the angle between their two equator crossing longitudes. I've forgotten how to do it.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simonbp on 11/14/2011 01:53 pm
He has also rejected rumours that the spacecraft had constructive defects.   

Well then, what the hell when wrong? Is he saying that it was designed to be hopelessly stuck in LEO?

Having a quality control problem is one thing. Denying that you have such a problem (when it's clear to the rest of the world that you do) strikes me as being like the alcoholic who denies he has a drinking problem as he pulls out the flask...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JRThro on 11/14/2011 02:00 pm
He has also rejected rumours that the spacecraft had constructive defects.   

Well then, what the hell when wrong? Is he saying that it was designed to be hopelessly stuck in LEO?

Having a quality control problem is one thing. Denying that you have such a problem (when it's clear to the rest of the world that you do) strikes me as being like the alcoholic who denies he has a drinking problem as he pulls out the flask...
Perhaps he was trying to differentiate between constructive (construction?) defects and software or programming problems.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/14/2011 02:01 pm
He has also rejected rumours that the spacecraft had constructive defects.   

Well then, what the hell when wrong?

Software problems?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/14/2011 02:28 pm
Russia still hopes to regain control of Mars probe

12:20 14/11/2011

Russia has time until the beginning of December to establish contact with its Phobos-Grunt unmanned spacecraft that is stranded at a low-Earth orbit after launch, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Monday.

More:

http://en.rian.ru/science/20111114/168681455.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/14/2011 02:34 pm
Guys, don't copy and paste articles unless:

1) They are press releases (such as Roscosmos content)
2) They are your own work on translation.

Always link regardless. The above post is an example of what is acceptable.

Anyone who copies and pastes articles into forums and just adds a link will be banned, as we've suffered from that and there's absolutely no excuse for it, because it's either malicious "I'll do what I want on the internet" or stupidity "what? copyright means you can't republish it externally?" - and we don't want either on here ;D
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nickolai on 11/14/2011 04:26 pm
Two questions:

1) What does this sentence mean?

Quote
In practice, solar inertial pointing clocks completely around the sky once every rev.

2) What possible explanation could there be for two different sources giving two different comm times (7 mins from the official source and 2 mins from RIA, as stated in above posts). Other than journalistic typo, is it possible that right now the session is 2 mins and with improvements to the tracking systems it could be increases to 7 mins?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/14/2011 05:03 pm
Other than journalistic typo, is it possible that right now the session is 2 mins and with improvements to the tracking systems it could be increases to 7 mins?

Seven might be just possible if they can track horizon-to-horizon on a high-elevation pass. But such passes don't come along all that frequently. Attached are Heavens Above pass predictions for the next couple of days for Medvezh'i Ozera near Moscow and Sevastopol. Note that HA uses a 10 degree horizon mask.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moe Grills on 11/14/2011 05:11 pm
   It's a shame. It's a shame.
:(

 There are a lot of Russian engineers, technicians, computer programmers right now who are hurtin' badly.
Not only is their pride hurt; they are humiliated.
FPE, I can empathize that being humiliated is awful!

WORSE!  Their job security is in peril. The Lavochkin and other Russian spacecraft firms that make these craft are NOT getting additional funding, in fact they are suffering funding cutbacks to interplanetary programs.

Don't think Putin is suddenly going to pour in Rubles to the BADLY UNDERFUNDED unmanned space program in Russia which is tottering on its legs; he has OTHER agendas to fund.

IMHO the sun is stetting on the Russian unmanned interplanetary program. It's time for nations like India, Japan, China and the US to pick up the slack. 

It was 15 years ago when Mars 96 went kaput; and 23 years since Russia
last sent a probe to Mars. Some of you weren't even born 23 years ago.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Pheogh on 11/14/2011 05:24 pm
Okay. So If I have this straight their going to try taking a video or pictures of the spacecraft from ISS to see if its tumbling or is otherwise damaged? Did they actually take pictures?

I don't think there was any indication that ISS personnel were going to inspect for damage. As far as I understand it, ground controllers were simply informing the crew that there will be a close pass, and it's up to the crew to decide what they want to do with that information.

Is that all? Does anyone know if the ISS crew took the opportunity?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/14/2011 05:42 pm
Two questions:

1) What does this sentence mean?

Quote
In practice, solar inertial pointing clocks completely around the sky once every rev.


 solar inertial pointing means it is always pointing at the sun.  From earth reference, it looks like the spacecraft is rotating one revolution per orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/14/2011 06:32 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111114/488740960.html

RIA Novosti reports that the crew of the ISS was not able to take pictures of Phobos-Grunt.

It's because the distance between P-G and ISS was too high- between 120-150 kms.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Pheogh on 11/14/2011 06:41 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111114/488740960.html

RIA Novosti reports that the crew of the ISS was not able to take pictures of Phobos-Grunt.

It's because the distance between P-G and ISS was too high- between 120-150 kms.

Has there been any published imagery from ground based observers, detailed imagery?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/14/2011 06:53 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111114/488740960.html (http://ria.ru/science/20111114/488740960.html)

RIA Novosti reports that the crew of the ISS was not able to take pictures of Phobos-Grunt.

It's because the distance between P-G and ISS was too high- between 120-150 kms.

Has there been any published imagery from ground based observers, detailed imagery?

Not that I know of, but unless it's military, I don't think you're going to get detailed imagery of such a small target.  This is about as good as you can hope for (ROSAT):

http://legault.perso.sfr.fr/rosat.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JWag on 11/14/2011 07:05 pm
RussianSpaceWeb has some good information on the ground hardware used (so far) to attempt contact with P-G:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_kik.html

It is not encouraging to read.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/14/2011 07:12 pm
Ted Molczan is having second thoughts about the orbit changes being due to thrusters or venting: http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0156.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: riney on 11/14/2011 07:57 pm
Assuming the Russians were to ask, are there any U.S. ground assets that could be made capable of contacting/commanding the spacecraft in the available time?

--riney
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: clongton on 11/14/2011 08:05 pm
Assuming the Russians were to ask, are there any U.S. ground assets that could be made capable of contacting/commanding the spacecraft in the available time?

--riney

Without even knowing the source of the problem it would be difficult to even consider offering. If they are able to actually identify the source problem, then maybe, depending on what it is. Having said that, I think it is unlikely and that saddens me. I really want our Russian friends to score.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/14/2011 08:06 pm
My comments in all caps, to an email from a friend about Popovkin statements today:

> Hi, [FROM Constantine Domashnev] >
> A new official update on the Phobos Grunt/Ground status is here:
> http://roscosmos.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=18258 :: 14.11.2011
>
> A brief summary [mine] of Vladimir Popovkin’s statements:
>
> 1. The probe itself does not have design flows.
STATEMENT OF FAITH, NOT OF FACT. ALL MUCH-BALLYHOOED SOVIET ERA EXPERIMENTS IN 'REMOTE VIEWING' AND OTHER E-S-P WERE FAILURES, BUT PERHAPS POPOVKIN BELIEVES HE CAN PERFORM SUCH MIRACLES WITH HIS OWN MIND. ROSKOSMOS OFFICIALS HAVE A PATTERN OF VOICING THEIR DESIRED CONCLUSIONS TO ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION PANELS BEFORE THEY HAVE EVEN BEGUN DATA COLLECTION AND DELIBERATION – THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THAT LONG, TOXIC TRADITION.

> However, a significant part of the problem is a narrow communication window
> (7 minutes) due to the probe’ unexpectedly close range / ultra low orbit.
SINCE THIS IS HOW THE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM WAS DESIGNED, HOW CAN STATEMENT 1-B BE PLACED DIRECTLY BELOW THE TOTALLY CONTRADICTORY 1-A?? HOW CAN ONE BELIEVE TWO MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE 'FACTOIDS' SIMULTANEOUSLY?

> 2. Astronomically, the deadline for recovering the probe is early December.
MY INTERPLANETARY NAVIGATION GURUS TELL ME THAT DUE TO THE PRECESSION OF THE PROBE'S PARKING ORBIT, IT HAS ALREADY PASSED OUTSIDE ANY POSSIBLE SUCCESSFUL TRANS-MARS-INSERTION BURN BECAUSE OF EXCESS PLANE CHANGE.

> 3. If not recovered by then, the probe will remain on the current orbit for
> a month or two.
IT WILL, OF COURSE, DROP LOWER AND LOWER IN THAT PERIOD, AND WILL NOT REMAIN AT ANY ALTITUDE.
 
> 4. Currently, the probe is stable relative to the sun; it functions
> nominally, which means the onboard computing is not dead.
SEE QUIBBLE OVER STATEMENT 1-A. POPOVKIN GAVE NO DATA ON WHICH THIS 'HOPE' IS BASED, NOR IS THERE ANY REPORT OF ANY RUSSIAN SPACE OPTICAL SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM OBTAINING A SINGLE TRACKING ARC ON THE PAYLOAD.  FROM WHAT I'VE READ ABOUT NUREK-OKNO AND OTHERS, I AM NOT CONVINCED THEY EVEN HAVE THAT ANGULAR TRACKING RATE CAPABILITY. I HAVE NOT EVEN SEEN ANY VISUAL DAWN/DUSK OPPORTUNITIES LISTED FROM THE KNOWN SITES.

> Hence, theoretical chances however small to establish communication with the probe exist.
SUCH CHANCES NO DOUBT 'EXIST', ON THE SAME ORDER OF LIKELIHOOD
AS THE PROBE BEING HIT BY ORBITAL DEBRIS AND EXPLODING. WE CAN'T
ESTIMATE THOSE CHANCES INDEPENDENTLY [INFO IS SECRET] AND POPOVKIN'S SELF-SERVING SAY-SO ISN'T SUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO BELIEVE IT.

> If communication is established, the exact reasons of what happened will be
> known. And it will be possible to reprogram/reset the BKU.
BUT SINCE IT WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE TO RESET THE PARKING ORBIT PLANE, THIS CAPABILITY LOOKS USELESS REGARDING ANY RESCUE OF THE ORIGINAL INTERPLANETARY MISSION. UNLESS A RUSSIAN BALLISTICIAN CAN EXPLAIN HOW THEY PLAN TO REDESIGN THE ESCAPE ASYMPTOTE -- I'M LISTENING.

> 5. If the probe is to fall to Earth, there is no danger of contamination as
> the probe will explode on reentry.
IF ROSKOSMOS TRULY BELIEVED THIS, THEY WOULD DEORBIT THEIR END-OF-LIFE VEHICLES OVER RUSSIAN TERRITORY. SINCE MOSCOW HAS A LONG, LAMENTABLE TRACK RECORD OF FALSELY CLAIMING THERE WAS NO CONTAMINATION DANGER FROM VEHICLES SUCH AS KOSMOS-954 [CANADA, 1978] AND MARS-96 [BOLIVIA, 1996], STATEMENTS OF THIS NATURE LACK THE SLIGHTEST CREDIBILITY.
 
> The exact time of reentry can be predicted when the probe' orbit decays to
> 180km [112 MILES].
LIKE THE RUSSIAN SPACE TRACK EXPERTS PREDICTED THE RECENT
UARS AND ROSAT ENTRY TIMES SO ACCURATELY? DOES POPOVKIN
THINK THAT HIS TARGET AUDIENCE HAS AMNESIA, OR IS HE TOO
ACCUSTOMED FROM HIS LONG [AND HONORABLE] MILITARY CAREER
WHERE HE WAS ABLE TO DICTATE DOGMA TO HIS MILITARY UNDERLINGS,
NOT REALIZING THAT IN THE CIVILIAN WORLD, PEOPLE HE CAN'T DISCIPLINE MAY WANT MORE REASONS TO AGREE WITH HIS CLAIMS THAN HIS SAY-SO ALONE?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/14/2011 08:09 pm
A good discussion of the 'garble factor' of making official statements at a press conference while putting NOTHING on the official website, is here:

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/11/14/popovkin-finally-provides-update-on-phobos-grunt-flunks-math/#more-32047
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/14/2011 08:13 pm
RussianSpaceWeb has some good information on the ground hardware used (so far) to attempt contact with P-G:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_kik.html

It is not encouraging to read.

Ironically and perhaps shortsightedly, I'm slightly encouraged by Mr. Zak's latest update. It paints a picture of more trouble utilizing the ground stations than I think even most of us closely following the situation realized. It leaves open the possibility that perhaps the spacecraft is not being totally deaf and mute, but rather they're just not tracking accurately enough.

This is thin speculation on my part, of course.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/14/2011 09:39 pm
There have been cases where Soviet-era spacecraft went a long time without allowing ground command but then were recovered. The Soyuz test flight called 'Kosmos-613' went for weeks. Even the FGB, when launched, rejected ground commands for several orbits, while the Russians and Americans were whooping it up at the post-launch party, in the dark about how it was teetering on the brink of failure.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/14/2011 09:58 pm
Phobos-Grunt hazard level rises -- lawyers are getting involved!!

Phobos-Grunt: a legal analysis of potential liability and options for mitigation
by Michael Listner
Monday, November 14, 2011
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1968/1
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: sdsds on 11/15/2011 12:21 am
Assuming the Russians were to ask, are there any U.S. ground assets that could be made capable of contacting/commanding the spacecraft in the available time?

I am unaware of any public statement about this by a person who has sufficient knowledge of the Russian and U.S. systems which would be involved.

That said, because F-G communicates in the X-band, if there were a non-classified organization within the U.S. that would be involved, it would be the Deep Space Network which AIUI is operated by JPL.  It isn't clear that anyone associated with DSN has yet taken on the task of evaluating what the F-G communications requirements might be.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jorge on 11/15/2011 01:17 am
Does that put them ~154 deg out, about as close to opposite as can be, and making any pass very quick?

OK... Now somebody with competence in spherical trig can please take these two planes with this RAAN difference, and calculate their actual out-of-plane value -- the angle between their two planes, not just the angle between their two equator crossing longitudes. I've forgotten how to do it.



I forgot the spherical trig method as well, but by computing the unit angular momentum vectors from i and RAAN, then taking the dot product of those, I get 99 degrees.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nickolai on 11/15/2011 01:50 am
Not sure if this has been covered yet, but http://ria.ru/science/20111114/488421626.html states in the 5th paragraph:

Он также рассказал, что специалисты ведомства пытаются, в частности, провести ускорение поворотных механизмов аппарата. Кроме того, станция должна была начать работать, когда она была бы в нескольких десятках тысячах километрах от Земли и мощность передатчиков была настроена так, чтобы сигнал доходил туда, уточнил Поповкин. По его словам, эксперты опасались, что на близком расстоянии сожгут этим чересчур сильным сигналом аппаратуру зонда.

Popovkin further explained, that specialists are trying, among other things, to speed up the turning mechanisms at listening stations [the paragraph before stated that communications difficulties stemmed from tracking equipment being designed for deep space comms, not LEO]. Besides that, the spacecraft was supposed to start work [start transmitting?] when it was several tens of thousands of kilometers away from the Earth and the strength of the transmitters we set such that the signal would get there, Popovkin pointed out. As he says, experts have explained that at this close distance the will burn this for sure with a strong signal to the craft.

So it sounds like they haven't tried transmitting at higher power levels yet.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 02:18 am
Maybe, Fobos-Grunt craft can still be used as a (quite expensive!) test platform for a successful Fobos-Grunt II even if no part of the spaceship will go further than a low - medium Earth orbit.

I do not think that Fobos-Grunt does not have an emergency command for releasing the Chinese satellite and splitting the spacecraft in three: the cruise stage, Chinese satellite and Phobos lander.

- Fuel tanks will be lost and crash on Earth.
- The Chinese satellite, once liberated, will be able to rise its orbit and become an Earth satellite and be tested thoroughly in the next year.
- Phobos Lander will also become an Earth satellite. Maybe they will attempt to make it approach a big known space junk.
- The Mars - Earth return module could also be released from the Lander through an emergency command and become an Earth satellite.
 - Finally the reentry capsule will detach from the return module, at an favorable moment, and land as scheduled in Kazakhstan.

If the above sequence of events goes well then a Fobos-Grunt II craft can be built quickly and be ready for the 2013 Mars window with much more chances of success than Fobos-Grunt I.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jason1701 on 11/15/2011 02:23 am
Maybe, Fobos-Grunt craft can still be used as a (quite expensive!) test platform for a successful Fobos-Grunt II even if no part of the spaceship will go further than a low - medium Earth orbit.

I do not think that Fobos-Grunt does not have an emergency command for releasing the Chinese satellite and splitting the spacecraft in three: the cruise stage, Chinese satellite and Phobos lander.

- Fuel tanks will be lost and crash on Earth.
- The Chinese satellite, once liberated, will be able to rise its orbit and become an Earth satellite and be tested thoroughly in the next year.
- Phobos Lander will also become an Earth satellite. Maybe they will attempt to make it approach a big known space junk.
- The Mars - Earth return module could also be released from the Lander through an emergency command and become an Earth satellite.
 - Finally the reentry capsule will detach from the return module, at an favorable moment, and land as scheduled in Kazakhstan.

If the above sequence of events goes well then a Fobos-Grunt II craft can be built quickly and be ready for the 2013 Mars window with much more chances of success than Fobos-Grunt I.

None of that can happen if they never make contact with the spacecraft, which seems by far the likeliest outcome.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 02:34 am
They are trying to start the first stage (the ring) and then the cruise stage (the spheres). It is not clear that they are unable to split the craft in three and release the Chinese satellite. They should be able to do so.
For the moment they are not interested in such a stunt because it would mean that the mission had failed. 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2011 02:41 am
They are trying to start the first stage (the ring) and then the cruise stage (the spheres). It is not clear that they are unable to split the craft in three and release the Chinese satellite. They should be able to do so.
For the moment they are not interested in such a stunt because it would mean that the mission had failed. 


No, they can't even contact the vehicle, much less trying to start it.   Since they can't contact it, they can't command it to split.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/15/2011 02:42 am
They are trying to start the first stage (the ring) and then the cruise stage (the spheres). It is not clear that they are unable to split the craft in three and release the Chinese satellite.
They are unable to contact the spacecraft in any way. No telemetry, no response to any commands.
Quote
They should be able to do so.
What makes you think that ? Normally, this would only be done after they reach Mars, and that would be done by an on-board command sequence, not directly commanded from earth. There's no reason to have it externally commandable.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 03:05 am
Honestly, I do not believe the story according to which they are not able to send any command to the spacecraft.
They say, or better suggest, that no uplink has been possible just to get rid of a lot of questions from journalists.
Such a big spacecraft has multiple communication systems, high gain and low gain omnidirectional antenna. Something is wrong with the spacecraft but they have some bidirectional communication.
The Mars rovers have at least three antenna, three communication systems, each and the rovers are much smaller.

   
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Eraser on 11/15/2011 03:07 am
I now have very little confidence in any official statements, because the upcoming parliamentary elections. Phobos-Grunt simply can not be considered as lost before the election.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/15/2011 03:08 am
Welcome to the site's forum Simplex, but be careful with your direction as you're heading into conspiracy, which is a very dirty area around these parts.

Got to keep it at a decent level here.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Silmfeanor on 11/15/2011 03:08 am
Honestly, I do not believe the story according to which they are not able to send any command to the spacecraft.
They say, or better suggest, that no uplink has been possible just to get rid of a lot of questions from journalists.
Such a big spacecraft has multiple communication systems, high gain and low gain omnidirectional antenna. Something is wrong with the spacecraft but they have some bidirectional communication.
The Mars rovers have at least three antenna, three communication systems, each and the rovers are much smaller. 
This just makes no sense. What are your sources for this?
How does that even make sense?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 03:25 am
Just watch the spacecraft. Now it should look like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/57/Cebit_2011-fobos-grunt_together_with_upper_stage.jpg
The lander, return module and Chinese satellite, each must have at least two communication systems, the main one and the backup. It is six in total! None of them is able to receive any data from earth?!!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/15/2011 03:29 am
It is six in total! None of them is able to receive any data from earth?!!
It doesn't matter how many antennas you have if the thing connected to them isn't talking.

The payloads weren't supposed to be activated until after the Earth departure, same for the HGA.

In reality, if they hear so much as a peep from it, I expect word will appear on the NK forum shortly thereafter.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2011 03:37 am
Just watch the spacecraft. Now it should look like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/57/Cebit_2011-fobos-grunt_together_with_upper_stage.jpg
The lander, return module and Chinese satellite, each must have at least two communication systems, the main one and the backup. It is six in total! None of them is able to receive any data from earth?!!

The communication systems on the return module and Chinese satellite are useless since they are not connected to the upperstage.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nickolai on 11/15/2011 03:38 am
Just watch the spacecraft. Now it should look like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/57/Cebit_2011-fobos-grunt_together_with_upper_stage.jpg
The lander, return module and Chinese satellite, each must have at least two communication systems, the main one and the backup. It is six in total! None of them is able to receive any data from earth?!!

They should each have at least 1 communications system that is capable of transmitting data. If you built your spacecraft perfectly, all you really need to do is transmit, since it should be able to take care of everything else on its own.

Of course, this is rocket science, and you pretty much never get anything completely right the first time (often not even the second time, or as is Russia's unfortunate case with Mars, 18th time...) so the lander and maybe the Chinese satellite will have receivers. The return capsule I believe only has transmitters for finding it upon return to Earth (unless it's capable of course corrections?).

However, this is not all interlinked. The Chinese satellite is a hitchhiker, and it was not planned to turned on until PG was outbound to Mars (and even then only in standyby mode). Even if it was on, I'm not sure how much it would be able to tell you and while my next thought is speculation, I'm sure many here would agree that the Chinese satellite is almost certainly not capable of controlling the Fregat-derived engine.

Likewise, it's unlikely the return capsule can control the engine either. It was also to be turned on in standby mode once the stack was on the Mars bound trajectory.

That leave the only comm system capable of transmit/receive on the lander. It has been suggested that the receiving antennas are blocked by the fuel tanks which were meant to be jettisoned after Trans Mars Injection (TMI). The programming of the craft has led it to shut off transmission for reasons not entirely known.

A lot of my information comes from these documents posted on the NK forum: http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12378

Also, I have trouble understanding your earlier statement about journalists. You think they would ask fewer questions if they are told comms are not working than if they are told comms are working? They're journalists, I'm sure they'll think of something to ask regardless of the situation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 04:00 am
Also, I have trouble understanding your earlier statement about journalists. You think they would ask fewer questions if they are told comms are not working than if they are told comms are working?
Yes.

Do you remember this story:
"The MV Arctic Sea is a merchant vessel cargo ship, formerly of Malta that was reported as missing between late July and mid August 2009 en route from Finland to Algeria. On July 24, the Arctic Sea, manned by a Russian crew and carrying a cargo of what was declared to consist solely of timber ..."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Arctic_Sea

The Russians maintained for weeks that the ship had disappeared and they had no communication with it just to finally acknowledge that they had been in touch with the crew all the time.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2011 04:07 am
Also, I have trouble understanding your earlier statement about journalists. You think they would ask fewer questions if they are told comms are not working than if they are told comms are working?
Yes.

Do you remember this story:
"The MV Arctic Sea is a merchant vessel cargo ship, formerly of Malta that was reported as missing between late July and mid August 2009 en route from Finland to Algeria. On July 24, the Arctic Sea, manned by a Russian crew and carrying a cargo of what was declared to consist solely of timber ..."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Arctic_Sea

The Russians maintained for weeks that the ship had disappeared and they had no communication with it just to finally acknowledge that they had been in touch with the crew all the time.

This is not the same thing.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 04:15 am
They should each have at least 1 communications system that is capable of transmitting data. If you built your spacecraft perfectly, all you really need to do is transmit, since it should be able to take care of everything else on its own.
I am not aware of any previous Mars spaceship designed just to downlink, or at least to downlink for long intervals of time, without any possibility for the craft to receive commands.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: just-nick on 11/15/2011 04:29 am
They should each have at least 1 communications system that is capable of transmitting data. If you built your spacecraft perfectly, all you really need to do is transmit, since it should be able to take care of everything else on its own.
I am not aware of any previous Mars spaceship designed just to downlink, or at least to downlink for long intervals of time, without any possibility for the craft to receive commands.
I'm not sure it is accurate to say that PG was designed to not receive commands for a long interval of time.

It wasn't designed to receive commands, perhaps, for the initial period of parking orbit and TMI. But the fact that it isn't receiving commands now seems to be due to some combination of failures and unforseen circumstances.

Not receiving commands is hardly that unusual...at this point I think all US upper stages fly without ground command, and some of them execute quite extensive maneuvers autonomously.  I tend to think of PG, at this point, as more like an upper stage/spacecraft composite that failed to execute a burn or to separate.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/15/2011 04:37 am
I now have very little confidence in any official statements, because the upcoming parliamentary elections. Phobos-Grunt simply can not be considered as lost before the election.

Interesting, when are the elections?

Many wonder why no information is forthcoming. 

Yet if you watch yesterdays Soluz launch they showed the large Antenna complex.  It was a very well done show of the launch.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 04:52 am
Hours after Phobos - Grunt became and earth satellite, the Russians said that maybe the craft had not found the right stars and in consequence it stopped taking any further decision, waiting for commands from the ground. They also said this scenario had been taken into account.

Now they say the spaceship is not designed to receive commands so close to the Earth surface. This contradicts their first statements.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Patchouli on 11/15/2011 05:54 am
I hope they get this sorted out but it seems like the kind of failure that happens when you skimp on ground testing.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Eraser on 11/15/2011 06:06 am
Interesting, when are the elections?
December 4.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/15/2011 09:10 am
Hours after Phobos - Grunt became and earth satellite, the Russians said that maybe the craft had not found the right stars and in consequence it stopped taking any further decision, waiting for commands from the ground. They also said this scenario had been taken into account.

Now they say the spaceship is not designed to receive commands so close to the Earth surface. This contradicts their first statements.

The most likely explanation is a panicked Roskosmos PAO issuing a statement without bothering to talk to all those peasants in Engineering who actually knows what is the problem.

To me, the later the statement the more likely it is to be accurate.  Earlier statements are likely to reflect preliminary findings or even the most popular theory held by the Brain Trust.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SiberianTiger on 11/15/2011 10:12 am
FROM WHAT I'VE READ ABOUT NUREK-OKNO AND OTHERS, I AM NOT CONVINCED THEY EVEN HAVE THAT ANGULAR TRACKING RATE CAPABILITY. I HAVE NOT EVEN SEEN ANY VISUAL DAWN/DUSK OPPORTUNITIES LISTED FROM THE KNOWN SITES.

If I am allowed to add my two cents, it appears that Okno did have few possibilities to observe PhG after its launch. Maybe my approach is too simplistic for a real observation work, but given the current TLE...

Quote
Satellite passes / Orbitron 3.71 / www.stoff.pl

Location      : Nurek - Okno (69.2250° E, 38.2750° N)
Time zone     : UTC
Search period : 2011-11-08 10:21:34 - 7 days
                2011-11-15 10:21:34
Conditions    : Maximum sun elevation = -5 deg
                Minimum sat elevation = 5 deg
                Illumination required

Time                Satellite              Azm  Elv  Mag Range S.Azm S.Elv
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
2011-11-10 01:01:07 PHOBOS-GRUNT         318.5 18.4    ?   741 102.6 -11.5
2011-11-10 01:02:40 PHOBOS-GRUNT          37.7 64.1    ?   307 102.9 -11.2
2011-11-10 01:05:59 PHOBOS-GRUNT         123.2  5.0    ?  1479 103.3 -10.6

2011-11-11 01:01:26 PHOBOS-GRUNT         288.5 23.8    ?   615 102.9 -11.7
2011-11-11 01:02:36 PHOBOS-GRUNT         220.8 50.8    ?   351 103.1 -11.4
2011-11-11 01:05:51 PHOBOS-GRUNT         140.8  5.1    ?  1468 103.5 -10.8

2011-11-12 01:01:32 PHOBOS-GRUNT         249.5 20.1    ?   698 103.1 -11.8
2011-11-12 01:02:09 PHOBOS-GRUNT         224.6 22.4    ?   649 103.2 -11.7
2011-11-12 01:05:07 PHOBOS-GRUNT         159.9  5.0    ?  1461 103.6 -11.2

2011-11-13 01:01:24 PHOBOS-GRUNT         226.1 11.2    ?  1016 103.3 -12.0
2011-11-13 01:01:24 PHOBOS-GRUNT         226.1 11.2    ?  1016 103.3 -12.0
2011-11-13 01:03:38 PHOBOS-GRUNT         182.5  5.0    ?  1446 103.6 -11.6

Times are UTC.

The next period of dawn/dusk visibility shall begin no sooner that Nov. 19th.

It's too bad that Space Monitoring System of Russia never discloses their data to public, but it's probably not too bold to assume that their data is used by Roscosmos who are continuing their attempts to reestablish contact with the spacecraft knowing it's in a stable solar-facing attitude?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/15/2011 01:51 pm
Hours after Phobos - Grunt became and earth satellite, the Russians said that maybe the craft had not found the right stars and in consequence it stopped taking any further decision, waiting for commands from the ground. They also said this scenario had been taken into account.

Now they say the spaceship is not designed to receive commands so close to the Earth surface. This contradicts their first statements.

Let's go back to a standard satellite launch.  Usually just before launch, the spacecraft goes to internal power (batteries) and then the satelitte becomes passive.  Most transmit telemetry through the launcher but some do not.  Depends mostly on the telemetry system of the launcher.  But the bottom line is from a launcher standpoint, it's bad to have the satellite deploy appendages or output RF that could interfere with the launcher communications or do anything actively while being launched into space.  The satellite is a passenger and the launcher has its own avionics systems.

Now once separated from the launcher's upper stage, a switch is thrown and the satellite starts chattering away.  It knows it's on its own and can start transmitting.

In all cases, the available power for spacecraft activities is limited.  There are still eclipse moments near Earth where the satellite goes into shadow.  So, what devices get enabled and what stays off is a matter of how much power is available in worst case versus what benefit there is to turning on the devices.

So, that likely means that a passive Chinese satellite or lander would not be powered-up until check-out time on the way to Mars.  I would be really surprised if the Chinese satellite or lander radio devices are on.  So, strike those out of the available list.

The PG (or FG) integration with its upper stage seems strange to me.  It is sometimes difficult to figure out who is supposed to control what.  But in any event I would expect that the spacecraft would stay relatively quiet until the upper stage burn was completed so as not to disturb the burns.  Unfortunately in this case, that means a very limited means for communicating with the spacecraft because the spacecraft is still waiting for the burns to occur.

Never chalk up a problem to malace that can be more easily explained by a not well-thoughtout design.  Basically it seems likely that someone never thought of the consequences for the overall spacecraft if the first burn didn't occur.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2011 02:13 pm

Let's go back to a standard satellite launch.  Usually just before launch, the spacecraft goes to internal power (batteries) and then the satelitte becomes passive.  Most transmit telemetry through the launcher but some do not. 

Actually, the other way around, most don't transmit any telemetry during ascent
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/15/2011 02:14 pm

FWIW, I checked and the FGAN/TIRA imaging radar at Wachtberg, Germany is getting numerous good passes of Phobos-Grunt.  They released some images of ROSAT recently, so perhaps we can hope for some of PG.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 02:37 pm
The Russian Federal Space Agency has said 90% of Phobos Grunt is made of new and untested elements. The new instruments are being tested and will be tested during the flight.[41] According to lead scientist Alexander Zakharov, the entire spacecraft and most of the instruments are new, although they do draw on the heritance of the three successful Luna sample-return missions of the 1970s.[45] Zakharov has described the Phobos sample return project as "very difficult", possibly "the most difficult interplanetary one to date."[44]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fobos-Grunt
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/15/2011 03:17 pm

Let's go back to a standard satellite launch.  Usually just before launch, the spacecraft goes to internal power (batteries) and then the satelitte becomes passive.  Most transmit telemetry through the launcher but some do not. 

Actually, the other way around, most don't transmit any telemetry during ascent

Thanks. 

On Shuttle the payload had limited capability to transmit during ascent through the payload bus using BFS downlink, if the TFL was setup correct.  But, as you said, most of the time the payload didn't downlink anything during ascent.

Are any payload health measurements available during ascent on U.S. ELVs?  Or should I say can there be any health measurements made available?

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2011 03:30 pm

Let's go back to a standard satellite launch.  Usually just before launch, the spacecraft goes to internal power (batteries) and then the satelitte becomes passive.  Most transmit telemetry through the launcher but some do not. 

Actually, the other way around, most don't transmit any telemetry during ascent

Thanks. 

On Shuttle the payload had limited capability to transmit during ascent through the payload bus using BFS downlink, if the TFL was setup correct.  But, as you said, most of the time the payload didn't downlink anything during ascent.

Are any payload health measurements available during ascent on U.S. ELVs?  Or should I say can there be any health measurements made available?

Andy

I was referring to ELV's
EELV's have 2 x 2k interleave links
Delta II had none.
Some spacecraft use rerad and transmit out the fairing.

For shuttle,
Hughes spacecraft were dead
IUS had some data
Spacehab had some.
Centaur would have been a mess.


Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SaveMannedSpace on 11/15/2011 03:33 pm
Russia's manned space launch system and experience in EVAs CAN be put to work here to save Phobos-Grunt!  Send a Soyuz up to check it out and attempt repairs. Bold, sure, but why just abandon P-G by doing nothing, and thus risk ending Russia's planetary program for yet another decade?

Russia's reputation would be enhanced by a rescue mission even if it didn't succeed. NASA has offered any possible help, and can offer much advice from shuttle satellite repairs, etc.  "Just do it!"
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: just-nick on 11/15/2011 03:34 pm

Let's go back to a standard satellite launch.  Usually just before launch, the spacecraft goes to internal power (batteries) and then the satelitte becomes passive.  Most transmit telemetry through the launcher but some do not. 

Actually, the other way around, most don't transmit any telemetry during ascent

Thanks. 

On Shuttle the payload had limited capability to transmit during ascent through the payload bus using BFS downlink, if the TFL was setup correct.  But, as you said, most of the time the payload didn't downlink anything during ascent.

Are any payload health measurements available during ascent on U.S. ELVs?  Or should I say can there be any health measurements made available?

Andy
Per the Atlas V User's Guide, it seems there are three options (for that vehicle):

A "mission satisfaction telemetry kit" that transmits and records a series of environmental measurements at and around the payload interface.

A reradiating antenna in the PLF to allow a spacecraft transmitter to send telemetry.

Up to two channels of serial data from the spacecraft that can be transmitted at a maximum rate of 2kbps.

All are kits.  I'd assume other vehicles are typical, but I don't have the manuals handy (though if anyone is interested, L2 has a fantastic collection!).

--N
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/15/2011 03:35 pm
Russia's manned space launch system and experience in EVAs CAN be put to work here to save Phobos-Grunt!  Send a Soyuz up to check it out and attempt repairs. Bold, sure, but why just abandon P-G by doing nothing, and thus risk ending Russia's planetary program for yet another decade?

Russia's reputation would be enhanced by a rescue mission even if it didn't succeed. NASA has offered any possible help, and can offer much advice from shuttle satellite repairs, etc.  "Just do it!"

The problem is that it takes about 18 months to build and prep a Soyuz for launch.  Even Russia (which has a reputation for "seat of the pants" emergency engineering) would need months to develop and prepare the tools, parts and proceedures for the repair EVA.  Then there is the question of whether it is safe to let a Soyuz close to a spacecraft with which there is no communication and whose orientation and stability is questionable to say the least.

No, it's a non-starter, no matter how daring you want to be.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/15/2011 03:43 pm


...
Centaur would have been a mess.




Truer words have never been spoken - in so many ways.  The avionics were certainly a mess in regards to interfacing to the Shuttle systems.  While the concept was great (great wide upper stage for Shuttle), the implementation was not and was a kludge to get an Atlas-Centaur system to work inside a Shuttle orbiter.  But I just sent us off-topic. 

Sorry, Mr. Moderator, sir!

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/15/2011 03:51 pm
Russia's manned space launch system and experience in EVAs CAN be put to work here to save Phobos-Grunt!  Send a Soyuz up to check it out and attempt repairs. Bold, sure, but why just abandon P-G by doing nothing, and thus risk ending Russia's planetary program for yet another decade?

Russia's reputation would be enhanced by a rescue mission even if it didn't succeed. NASA has offered any possible help, and can offer much advice from shuttle satellite repairs, etc.  "Just do it!"

Let say Russia has oodles of money and can aford to waste a Soyuz on a Phobos-Grunt repair mission.  So, I have a few questions.

Where does the repair equipment come from?  How do you fly enough hardware so that you can replace the right component once you finally find out what the problem is?  How do you protect the cosmonauts from an accidental firing of the main engine once it is repaired?  How do you protect the cosmonauts and the hardware from the potentially leaking hydrazine (something is venting)?  Is there anything sharp on the spacecraft that could kill a cosmonaut if he cut his glove? 

Remember the Soyuz even with only two cosmonauts has very little excess lift capability (on the order of 250-300 lbs with two cosmonauts to ISS).  And, Phobos-Grunt is not EVA friendly (why would it be?).

Sure seems reckless to me.  Wouldn't you rather spend that oodles of money on a second Phobos-Grunt?

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/15/2011 03:56 pm
The website of novosti-kosmonavitki.ru has reported that astronomers have once again confirmed that earlier today Phobos-Grunt has risen its perigee.

Meanwhile RIA Novosti ( http://ria.ru/science/20111115/489423421.html ) has a publication according to which there's still chance to resurrect Phobos-Grunt. According to an unnamed source from the space industry there are difficulties because the antennas of Phobos-Grunt were designed to work for deep space missions which are standing in one point in the visual point - but not designed to work with a fast moving probe.

Another source from the space industry is skeptical when it comes to rumors that Phobos-Grunt is changing its orbit- he says that it could be due to measurement problems. There could be also some orbital changes due to atmospheric friction. Overall, he says, we are sure that the MDU engines weren't working - and we cannot be sure about the status of the engines for orientation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/15/2011 03:56 pm

Let say Russia has oodles of money and can aford to waste a Soyuz on a Phobos-Grunt repair mission.  So, I have a few questions.

Where does the repair equipment come from?  How do you fly enough hardware so that you can replace the right component once you finally find out what the problem is?  How do you protect the cosmonauts from an accidental firing of the main engine once it is repaired?  How do you protect the cosmonauts and the hardware from the potentially leaking hydrazine (something is venting)? 

Remember the Soyuz even with only two cosmonauts has very little excess lift capability (on the order of 250-300 lbs with two cosmonauts to ISS).

Sure seems reckless to me.  Wouldn't you rather spend that oodles of money on a second Phobos-Grunt?

Andy

You missed one, how do you prevent an Arabsat-4M Briz-M type RUD?

Also, worth noting, Soyuz can barely reach ISS, Phobos-Grunt is in a much lower orbit. So maybe you can carry and extra roll or two of duct tape.

All that fuel in an unknown state is a non starter for any manned mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/15/2011 04:05 pm
Any guesses as to why P-G is slowly ascending? Off the top of my head, it's either propellent outgassing or possibly excess RCS activity caused by the IAU trying to square the circle of LEO as opposed to a deep space cruise.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 04:11 pm
Phobos-Grunt perigee changing
Nov 15, 2011 17:17 Moscow Time

The perigee of Russia`s Phobos-Grunt Mars probe, which got stuck in a low-Earth orbit after the launch last week, has again increased by 1 km and now remains at the height of 209 km, which proves that the satellite`s engine is still working.
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/11/15/60435756.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SaveMannedSpace on 11/15/2011 04:59 pm
A rescue mission can be put together by re-assigning Soyuz TMA-03M which is scheduled to launch astronauts to ISS in mid-December. That provides a rocket which could be launchable now. Then it's a matter of training and launching--send them to NASA's water tank for such training. A race to be sure, but no technical barriers to attempting it if they roll fast with it. Perhaps there's a shuttle astronaut from the Hubble or other satellite repairs who is also trained on Soyuz missions who can provide experience as a crew member. Russia, you CAN save Phobos-Grunt!

Art Harman, Director, The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration http://SaveMannedSpace.com (http://SaveMannedSpace.com)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/15/2011 05:01 pm
Wouldn't it be cheaper just to build a new one? Plus the potential risk to the astros is just about worth it for Hubble, but - as much as we're all growing fond of PB - this is no HST.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/15/2011 05:03 pm
Wouldn't it be cheaper just to build a new one? Plus the potential risk to the astros is just about worth it for Hubble, but - as much as we're all growing found of PB - this is no HST.
Also, they have Ph-G insured, I believe.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/15/2011 05:11 pm
Standard Soyuz mission - $114 million.
Phobos Grunt mission - $163 million.

Honestly, I would choose to launch a Phobos Grunt II spacecraft for $163 million instead of trying to repair Phobos Grunt I for at least $114 million.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: cneth on 11/15/2011 05:14 pm
A rescue mission can be put together by re-assigning Soyuz TMA-03M which is scheduled to launch astronauts to ISS in mid-December. That provides a rocket which could be launchable now. Then it's a matter of training and launching--send them to NASA's water tank for such training. A race to be sure, but no technical barriers to attempting it if they roll fast with it. Perhaps there's a shuttle astronaut from the Hubble or other satellite repairs who is also trained on Soyuz missions who can provide experience as a crew member. Russia, you CAN save Phobos-Grunt!

Art Harman, Director, The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration http://SaveMannedSpace.com (http://SaveMannedSpace.com)

Is this supposed to be a joke?   

Let's just suppose that any of this was possible.  What would they do when they got to it?  Snatch it barehanded and push the (non-existant) big red reset button?    Tinker with it with screwdrivers and then give it a shove in the right direction?

This thing was not designed to be 'serviced', or docked with, or grappled, or any of that.  You'd be be putting the cosmonauts lives in danger.   What if an one is killed during this rescue - what does _that_ do for "saving" manned space flight?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/15/2011 05:14 pm
Any guesses as to why P-G is slowly ascending? Off the top of my head, it's either propellent outgassing or possibly excess RCS activity caused by the IAU trying to square the circle of LEO as opposed to a deep space cruise.

It's just the perigee that seems to be ascending. The apogee is coming down even faster and the mean altitude with it.  Just what is causing the perigee behavior isn't clear, though outgassing or attitude thruster firings have been suggested.  There's also some slight possibility that the orbital elements coming out of Space Command are in error -- I think that's unlikely, though it's happened before.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Art LeBrun on 11/15/2011 05:15 pm
Where is the back up non flight spacecraft to familiarize the repair guys? What kind of hardware is used? Any plug in modules or even spares? Any inaccessible parts or does the spacecraft need major disassembly for  access? Does turning off power create problems?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 11/15/2011 05:15 pm
A rescue mission can be put together by re-assigning Soyuz TMA-03M which is scheduled to launch astronauts to ISS in mid-December. That provides a rocket which could be launchable now. Then it's a matter of training and launching--send them to NASA's water tank for such training. A race to be sure, but no technical barriers to attempting it if they roll fast with it. Perhaps there's a shuttle astronaut from the Hubble or other satellite repairs who is also trained on Soyuz missions who can provide experience as a crew member. Russia, you CAN save Phobos-Grunt!

Art Harman, Director, The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration http://SaveMannedSpace.com (http://SaveMannedSpace.com)

And thus leaving ISS with a three-man crew again. This assumes that there are no other problems with the Russian manned space program, (Such as what happened to Progress M12M this summer) which could potentially leave ISS decrewed. You are essentially suggesting to Jeopardize a 200 billion dollar project for the remote chance of saving a 150 160 million dollar project. (Correct me if I'm wrong on those numbers, since I'm just citing the pricetags that I recall reading for ISS and Phobos-Grunt, respectively).

On the last thread, I got chewed out for even suggesting that a modified Progress might be able to be launched for the NEXT Mars launch window in 18 months as a booster to make up for vented propellant. What you're talking about is ludicrous.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: mtakala24 on 11/15/2011 05:22 pm
not to mention that the current version of Soyuz spacecraft does not have any EVA capabilities. Lets stop this futile effort of speculation and whatiffing.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/15/2011 05:25 pm

It's just the perigee that seems to be ascending. The apogee is coming down even faster and the mean altitude with it.  Just what is causing the perigee behavior isn't clear, though outgassing or attitude thruster firings have been suggested.  There's also some slight possibility that the orbital elements coming out of Space Command are in error -- I think that's unlikely, though it's happened before.

"Seems" is the operative verb, here.

The originator of the theory of slight orbit rise, ted molczan, is now much less convinced the rise is real, then when he first suggested it a few days ago. He suspects it may be associated with NORAD assumptions of drag coefficients used in projecting the orbit forweard. Or it might be real.

And Roskosmos has not said a word about the allegations, despite the russian news media being full of the claims -- usually reported as fact, rather than the supposition of one very skilled -- and cautious -- high-quality amateur analyst.

As with so much else about this mystery mission, it remains less than certain fact.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/15/2011 05:29 pm
This, to me, is the central question needing expert attention.

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003261
   Jim Oberg - 11/15/2011 - 05:31 // Can somebody with interplanetary navigation and targeting experience comment on the effect of the parking orbit's shifting day by day [about 6 degrees per day], out of proper alignment for the trans-Mars burn, and what that implies for the REAL chance of re-starting this mission? This has nothing to do with the 'launch window' based on Earth-Mars relative orbital positions.   
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2011 05:33 pm

A "mission satisfaction telemetry kit" that transmits and records a series of environmental measurements at and around the payload interface.

A reradiating antenna in the PLF to allow a spacecraft transmitter to send telemetry.

Up to two channels of serial data from the spacecraft that can be transmitted at a maximum rate of 2kbps.

All are kits.  I'd assume other vehicles are typical, but I don't have the manuals handy (though if anyone is interested, L2 has a fantastic collection!).

--N

"option1" provides no spacecraft telemetry or status, it only provides ascent environmental data.

As for the others, isnt that what I said.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2011 05:36 pm
Russia's manned space launch system and experience in EVAs CAN be put to work here to save Phobos-Grunt!  Send a Soyuz up to check it out and attempt repairs. Bold, sure, but why just abandon P-G by doing nothing, and thus risk ending Russia's planetary program for yet another decade?

Russia's reputation would be enhanced by a rescue mission even if it didn't succeed. NASA has offered any possible help, and can offer much advice from shuttle satellite repairs, etc.  "Just do it!"

Utterly ridiculous! Not bold

Wrong, Soyuz can't not support a repair mission. Nor is any manned mission going to approach a vehicle where there is no insight into its status.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/15/2011 05:40 pm

U but no technical barriers

Art Harman, Director, The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration http://SaveMannedSpace.com (http://SaveMannedSpace.com)

Wrong, there are many show stoppers.  I am going to use the "I" word.   it is impossible.  I
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/15/2011 05:41 pm
not to mention that the current version of Soyuz spacecraft does not have any EVA capabilities. Lets stop this futile effort of speculation and whatiffing.

Concur.

Ok, folks. Back on track. Let's keep it within the corridor of the efforts to restore PB only.

Let's keep this thread tidy and to the level expected on NSF.

(Or lose your posts - seen as three people ignored this).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/15/2011 07:09 pm
This, to me, is the central question needing expert attention.

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003261
   Jim Oberg - 11/15/2011 - 05:31 // Can somebody with interplanetary navigation and targeting experience comment on the effect of the parking orbit's shifting day by day [about 6 degrees per day], out of proper alignment for the trans-Mars burn, and what that implies for the REAL chance of re-starting this mission? This has nothing to do with the 'launch window' based on Earth-Mars relative orbital positions.   


I've also been hoping someone with sufficient knowledge on interplanetary trajectories could provide at least educated speculation, if not a knowledgeable answer.

And also, it would be helpful to take a step back and provide some background info for a few of us:

What exactly are we talking about here - sidereal angle of the orbital plane (as the intersection line with the ecliptic) or something else?

What drives the change? The earth revolving around the sun is about 1 degree per day, not 6. The earth-Mars angle I'd expect to change at about half that rate.

Or are we talking about the departure angle relative to the existing sidereal angle in order to make up for the changing final aim point...to be loose with terms
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/15/2011 07:52 pm
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/15/2011 07:54 pm
If it becomes necessary to interdict the satellite before it hits the atmosphere, the Russian Defense Ministry has available a totally new military command, the 'Aerospace Defense Troops', which formally come into being on December 1. To ask for US help in smashing the satellite to safe smithereens would be a humiliating confession that the Russian defense forces are incapable of providing this service.

 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/15/2011 08:11 pm
Is it more humiliating to fail yourself or to ask for help and succeed?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/15/2011 08:15 pm
China can do it, problem solved…
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: BeanEstimator on 11/15/2011 08:56 pm
If it becomes necessary to interdict the satellite before it hits the atmosphere, the Russian Defense Ministry has available a totally new military command, the 'Aerospace Defense Troops', which formally come into being on December 1. To ask for US help in smashing the satellite to safe smithereens would be a humiliating confession that the Russian defense forces are incapable of providing this service.

somebody, somewhere, had linked to the space review article on analysis of liability which discussed ASAT options. 

we can do it, china can do it, or the russians can do it.  however if they do it, they risk exposing their asat capabilities (or lack thereof)

The former Soviet Union did possess a co-orbital ASAT capability with its Istrebitel ASAT system, but it is uncertain whether they ever had or presently possess a direct-ascent ASAT system capable of performing an intercept of Phobos-Grunt. An intercept could be performed by an ABM system as was demonstrated by the ancillary use of components of the United States’ ABM system. However, it is unclear what ABM capabilities the Russian Federation has aside from the Cold War era Gazelle (SH-08/ABM-3) missiles, which surround Moscow. It is unlikely that these missiles, which originally carried a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead, have the capability to precisely target Phobos-Grunt as it orbits above.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1968/1

its always more humiliating to ask for help and succeed.  especially in aerospace and defense.  ego's and pride are at risk.   ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Archibald on 11/15/2011 09:18 pm
Quote
If it becomes necessary to interdict the satellite before it hits the atmosphere

A $120 million Mars probe turned into an ABM target. Sometimes reality is much, much weirder than anything a sci-fi writter would ever imagine (sigh...)

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/15/2011 09:32 pm
If it becomes necessary to interdict the satellite before it hits the atmosphere, the Russian Defense Ministry has available a totally new military command, the 'Aerospace Defense Troops', which formally come into being on December 1. To ask for US help in smashing the satellite to safe smithereens would be a humiliating confession that the Russian defense forces are incapable of providing this service.

somebody, somewhere, had linked to the space review article on analysis of liability which discussed ASAT options. 

we can do it, china can do it, or the russians can do it.  however if they do it, they risk exposing their asat capabilities (or lack thereof)

The former Soviet Union did possess a co-orbital ASAT capability with its Istrebitel ASAT system, but it is uncertain whether they ever had or presently possess a direct-ascent ASAT system capable of performing an intercept of Phobos-Grunt. An intercept could be performed by an ABM system as was demonstrated by the ancillary use of components of the United States’ ABM system. However, it is unclear what ABM capabilities the Russian Federation has aside from the Cold War era Gazelle (SH-08/ABM-3) missiles, which surround Moscow. It is unlikely that these missiles, which originally carried a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead, have the capability to precisely target Phobos-Grunt as it orbits above.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1968/1

its always more humiliating to ask for help and succeed.  especially in aerospace and defense.  ego's and pride are at risk.   ;)

That is my article and analysis.  I've been watching this thread and the proceeding one very carefully since the launch, and I am impressed with the quality of information being passed along, so much so that I've tweeted the URL to this thread and its predecessor to my Twitter followers.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Patchouli on 11/15/2011 09:33 pm
China can do it, problem solved…

The vehicle is not made for on orbit repair.

Pretty much all you could do from a Shenzhou is try and see if some sequencer switch had not been tripped as in SYNCOM IV-3 during STS-51-D.

If it's a more serious problem it cannot return the probe the only vehicles that could do that were the Shuttle or Buran and even then you'd need some sorta jig to place it into.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/15/2011 09:37 pm
China can do it, problem solved…

The vehicle is not made for on orbit repair.

Pretty much all you could do from a Shenzhou is try and see if some switch had not been tripped as in SYNCOM IV-3 during STS-51-D.

If it's a more serious problem it cannot return the probe the only vehicles that could do that was the Shuttle or Buran and even then you'd need some sorta jig to place it into.

I think he was talking about China intercepting PG with it direct-ascent ASAT capability.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/15/2011 09:43 pm
Shooting it down (regardless of who does it) will be a PR nightmare. If the US or China does it, it will be viewed by the Russian populace as saber rattling and an attempt to crush Russia's mars dreams. If Russia does it, it is an admission of failure and they did something unsafe and now have to throw a hail marry. And if the Russian's miss? I am dreading the scorched earth fallout that will be all that remains of the Russian Space Program.

I can not see it being shot down.

Also, just because the US and China have recently hit a bullet with a bullet does not mean they have a system that can take out any ole sat in LEO. Remember the missile that hit USA-193 was a "modified" missile that had to be prepared months in advance. It is also worth noting that at the time of the Chinese successful ASAT test, there was also stories in the press about other tests where they did not hit the target. China is not 1 for 1.

My point being the other "ASAT" assets are mostly likely not off the shelf solutions . While a valid option I rank it up there with Clint Eastwood riding a Soyuz to wrangle it to Mars!

...and then we also have to worry about that dang calibration source. For some reason I doubt it is designed to fully disperse on reentry. Meaning someone "could" find it and get hurt.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/15/2011 09:47 pm
China can do it and Russia can save face claiming it is a joint Russia-China space mission anyway. Added bonus, China gets to test and demonstrate its weapons ability again…

 http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2010-07/19/content_10121179.htm
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Patchouli on 11/15/2011 09:54 pm
I wonder if shooting it down may put ISS at risk as some of the debris could possibly end up in a higher orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: gregzsidisin on 11/15/2011 09:55 pm
As with so many others here, I find this very disheartening - but sadly unsurprising.  It seems clear the Russians tried to do too much with too few resources.   There were so many failure modes over the long mission to begin with; unfortunately, they may have been thrown off the horse right out of the chute.

Short of their restoring communications and control, AND being somehow able to successfully launch for Mars, the ideal scenario would be building F-G #2 for the next window, doing more testing, and taking to heart lessons learned.

That seems too logical to be possible in real life, doesn't it...?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Patchouli on 11/15/2011 09:58 pm
As with so many others here, I find this very disheartening - but sadly unsurprising.  It seems clear the Russians tried to do too much with too few resources.   There were so many failure modes over the long mission to begin with; unfortunately, they may have been thrown off the horse right out of the chute.

Short of their restoring communications and control, AND being somehow able to successfully launch for Mars, the ideal scenario would be building F-G #2 for the next window, doing more testing, and taking to heart lessons learned.

That seems too logical to be possible in real life, doesn't it...?

Well they did attempt a Mars moon sample return mission on a budget that was less then the cost of a Discovery class mission.

I'm sure they skimped on the testing in ways NASA and the ESA would not even dream about.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/15/2011 09:59 pm
Shooting it down may put ISS at risk as some of the debris may end up in a higher orbit.

My guess is that any intercept attempt would not be done until it reaches a low enough orbit where the remnants would reenter quickly, such as the USA-193 intercept.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/15/2011 10:03 pm
I wonder if shooting it down may put ISS at risk as some of the debris could possibly end up in a higher orbit.

Excellent point -- which also applies to an accidental explosion, a fate that has befallen a large number of derelict Russian booster stages in the past. But fortunately, only after a long time of orbital cruising, as I recall.

Some of the debris fragments might have sufficient forward energy to reach high enough to endanger the ISS. But not for long, because of their low perigee.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Blackstar on 11/15/2011 10:44 pm
Shooting it down (regardless of who does it) will be a PR nightmare.

It's more than that--IT WOULD BE BAD.

Look, do we really want a world where more and more countries are developing ASATs? That's happening now, but do we want to encourage it?

No.

Remember which country has the most to lose if other countries develop ASATs.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/15/2011 10:44 pm
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.

I'm afraid I'm not following. Do you know of any resources that explain this better? I tried sketching out some rough diagrams, but I don't really see what drives this precession, in particular how oblateness is relevant.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/15/2011 11:14 pm
I've given up any hope the mission will be saved.  There's been zero credible reports of progress.  I doubt anyone will shoot it so this thing's coming down.

My understanding is there's hypergolic fuel aboard so I'm envisioning the tanks rupturing from reentry forces causing the binary components to ignite and explode.

If that doesn't happen, will the fuel be dispersed as an aerosol and subsequently be carried off by upper level winds?

Or, will tanks filled with fuel reach the ground?

Then there are those who believe the fuel will freeze but that must not represent the thoughts of Russians who still cling to hope.  You cannot operate an engine with frozen fuel.

---  CHAS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/15/2011 11:26 pm
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.

I'm afraid I'm not following. Do you know of any resources that explain this better? I tried sketching out some rough diagrams, but I don't really see what drives this precession, in particular how oblateness is relevant.

The oblateness is relevant because it means the gravitational field isn't a perfect point source or that of a perfectly symmetrical sphere.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/15/2011 11:36 pm
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.

I'm afraid I'm not following. Do you know of any resources that explain this better? I tried sketching out some rough diagrams, but I don't really see what drives this precession, in particular how oblateness is relevant.

The oblateness is relevant because it means the gravitational field isn't a perfect point source or that of a perfectly symmetrical sphere.

That is so but is it a 1st order effect on the orbit?  GPS satellites go around that same ellipsoid and get corrected for nth order effects only once per year.

---  CHAS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: jcm on 11/15/2011 11:52 pm
I've been trying to assemble a better understanding of the mass breakdown of FG (Anatoly Zak had a good first go at http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_design.html)
All the various authoritative sources give only a subset of the needed info, and contradict each other (of course, and as usual :-))

Here is my guess... I throw it out in an attempt to provoke corrections.
'Propellant' is meant to include other consumables (usually a minor contribution)
             
SA (Descent module)     7 kg
VA (Return module) dry 139 kg
VA propellant                  135 kg
PM (Flight module)  dry   730 kg   (including 180 kg propulsion system)
PM propellant                 1050 kg  (but another source suggests 529 kg)
Truss                                172 kg
YH-1 satellite                    115 kg
MDU (Prop'n module) dry 735 kg
MDU propellant                7015 kg
SBB (drop tank) dry           335 kg
SBB propellant                  3001 kg

Total at launch         13434 kg

A few of these are pulled out of my.... well, somewhere.
Anyone want to have a better go?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ddunham on 11/16/2011 12:14 am
That is so but is it a 1st order effect on the orbit?  GPS satellites go around that same ellipsoid and get corrected for nth order effects only once per year.

GPS satellites are significantly farther away.  At their distance, the effects from the oblateness are much smaller.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simonbp on 11/16/2011 12:22 am
That is so but is it a 1st order effect on the orbit?  GPS satellites go around that same ellipsoid and get corrected for nth order effects only once per year.

Strictly speaking, it's the axisymmetric spherical harmonic component of the second-order gravity field (aka J2), first-order order being the fully symmetric monopole field.

And yes, J2 is quite strong at a few hundred km above the Earth's surface. It drops off quite fast, though (1/r^4, as opposed to monopole's 1/r^2), so it is much weaker at the altitudes GPS sats fly (~20,000 km, or 10,000 times weaker).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/16/2011 12:25 am
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.

I'm afraid I'm not following. Do you know of any resources that explain this better? I tried sketching out some rough diagrams, but I don't really see what drives this precession, in particular how oblateness is relevant.

Try Bate, Mueller, & White Fundamentals of Astrodynamics P156 (of my old book) Chapter 3.1.3 Perturbation of Low Altitude Orbits due to the Earth's Oblatness.

Or any other basic astrodynamics or orbital mechanics book.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/16/2011 12:29 am
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.

I'm afraid I'm not following. Do you know of any resources that explain this better? I tried sketching out some rough diagrams, but I don't really see what drives this precession, in particular how oblateness is relevant.

It's like gyroscopic precession. Think of it as the Earth as being a sphere (effectively a point mass) with a massive torus around the equator and the orbit as being the gyroscope. The torus tugs the gyroscope, changing the direction of its angular momentum vector, and it precesses.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/16/2011 12:45 am
Firstly, a big welcome to the site's forum to Michael!

Secondly, sure, it's not looking good - but from an overly optimistic standpoint, this isn't over until they say it's over. There will be some very clever people thinking on alternative options and you never know if one of them turns out to be successful.

There's a lot of "giving up" on here lately, with the "shoot down" talk.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 11/16/2011 12:50 am

There's a lot of "giving up" on here lately

Well I would be one or those, on account of all the heavy technical jargon being thrown around lately. Yikes!

Orbital mechanics and me will never be friends  ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/16/2011 01:12 am
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.

I'm afraid I'm not following. Do you know of any resources that explain this better? I tried sketching out some rough diagrams, but I don't really see what drives this precession, in particular how oblateness is relevant.

Try Bate, Mueller, & White Fundamentals of Astrodynamics P156 (of my old book) Chapter 3.1.3 Perturbation of Low Altitude Orbits due to the Earth's Oblatness.

Or any other basic astrodynamics or orbital mechanics book.

Well what do you know!  ;D

http://books.google.com/books?id=UtJK8cetqGkC&lpg=PP1&dq=fundamentals%20of%20astrodynamics&pg=PA156#v=onepage&q&f=false

Between the diagram on p156 pointing out the torque and ChileVerde's mention of gyroscopes, I've got my head half wrapped around it now.

(Side note: Price on the back cover is $15.95 - it's a pity college textbooks aren't that cheap anymore...correcting for the CPI for 1971, they're twice as much!)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/16/2011 01:13 am
Firstly, a big welcome to the site's forum to Michael!

Secondly, sure, it's not looking good - but from an overly optimistic standpoint, this isn't over until they say it's over. There will be some very clever people thinking on alternative options and you never know if one of them turns out to be successful.

There's a lot of "giving up" on here lately, with the "shoot down" talk.

Thanks for the welcome.  Like I noted before, this has been my primary source for updates on PB, and I've been tweeting the URLs for both threads to my followers.  Keep up the great work!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/16/2011 01:19 am
Try Bate, Mueller, & White Fundamentals of Astrodynamics P156 (of my old book)

Lots of people deprecate BMW, but I still like it a lot, at least as an introduction to the subject. The units they use are funky, but converting them back into real SI isn't that hard.  And the book costs less than $10 at Amazon.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2011 01:32 am
China can do it, problem solved…

The vehicle is not made for on orbit repair.

Pretty much all you could do from a Shenzhou is try and see if some switch had not been tripped as in SYNCOM IV-3 during STS-51-D.

If it's a more serious problem it cannot return the probe the only vehicles that could do that was the Shuttle or Buran and even then you'd need some sorta jig to place it into.

I think he was talking about China intercepting PG with it direct-ascent ASAT capability.

think it might be better to bring Phobos Grunt down from above.   Just use the Progress on it "trash run" return from the ISS to earth.   Turn it around and use the Kurz radar to lock on then......bring them both down in a safe area.


Not feasible, not the same orbit and Kurs is not a radar
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/16/2011 02:01 am
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.

I'm afraid I'm not following. Do you know of any resources that explain this better? I tried sketching out some rough diagrams, but I don't really see what drives this precession, in particular how oblateness is relevant.

It's like gyroscopic precession. Think of it as the Earth as being a sphere (effectively a point mass) with a massive torus around the equator and the orbit as being the gyroscope. The torus tugs the gyroscope, changing the direction of its angular momentum vector, and it precesses.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession

Actually, I really don't like the gyroscope analogy because the physical effects are different, and they do not produce the same detailed motion -- it just LOOKS sort of the same.

I wrote a chapter on orbitology for my US Space command sponsored book on 'space power theory' [no, NOT the electrical kind]. Let me get a link.

Here's the specific passage where I explain the effect to pilots:

In practice, there are some other significant influences on the orbit
of a satellite. One of those is the influence of the equatorial
gravitational “bulge.” Since the Earth rotates, it flattens slightly at the
poles and bulges outward at the Equator. Probably the most
significant and mysterious impact of the equatorial bulge is how it
causes the path of an orbit to “twist” in space. Twist isn’t really the
right word; it’s more like a long, gentle “S” turn. However, “twist” is
the term used by most space operators. It’s as hard to understand and
as complicated as the not-right terminology indicates. But, orbital
twist is important enough to be explained. For better and more
detailed explanations, there are several good textbooks on orbital
mechanics.

Various analogies have been suggested in orbital mechanics
textbooks, having to do with right-angle forces on spinning wheels,
and other strained parallels with earthside experience. But the most
useful way to grasp the concept is to keep visualizing your space
vehicle moving under the influence of gravity and its own forward
speed—with extra localized gravitational pull as your satellite crosses
the equator. Think of Earth’s equatorial bulge as a ring around the
planet’s waist. It has its own mass, and will pull anything nearby
towards it.

Now imagine your satellite approaching Earth’s equator, say, from
the southwest, at an angle (remember that angle with which it crosses
the Equator is called the orbital inclination) greater than a few degrees.
It’s just been over a point well away and south of the Equator. It’s
aimed straight ahead for a spot above the Equator.
As it approaches the Equator, the nearest portion of the “bulge” is
also pulling on it, directly toward the Equator. Its path will veer
slightly toward the bulge, to the left. It will reach the Equator at a point
somewhat to the left of where it had originally been headed.
North of the Equator the process is symmetrical but in the opposite
direction. Now the nearest parts of this extra equatorial bulge are on
the right, and it is in this direction that the satellite veers. As it finally
distances itself from the Equator, the two effects—the veer to the left
(south of the Equator) and the veer to the right (north of the
Equator)—have balanced out to return the satellite to its original
direction.
However, the original swerve to the left (westwards) is NOT
counterbalanced, so the satellite’s orbital plane has been effectively
shifted a small amount. For a typical space shuttle flight from Florida,
this shift per Equator crossing amounts to about 20 to 25 km. That’s
not much on an orbit that is 40,000 km long per revolution, but it can
add up. For space shuttle flights, it can amount to a westwards plane
shift of about five to seven degrees per day.
Now, if we apply the principles of gravitation to this effect, we can
see how it works for different altitudes and inclinations. Since it is
caused by the extra gravity from the equatorial bulge, the closer you
are and the longer you stay close to this bulge, the bigger you should
expect the effect to be.
This is exactly the case. The lower the inclination of an orbit, the
longer it skirts “near” the Equator and the more it is twisted. The
higher the orbital altitude, altitude, the more distant its approach to the extra
mass, and so the less its orbital plane is twisted.

An interesting and very useful application of this orbital twisting
is connected with those orbits that are nearly perfectly north-south
(near-polar) orbits that are slightly “retrograde”—that is, they
approach the Equator from slightly east of south when northbound.
The twisting still occurs, but this time (think of where the extra mass
is closest), it is first to the right, towards the east and then to the left.
Sketch this out to convince yourself.
As Earth circles the Sun once per year, it moves in its orbit and the
Sun appears to move through the constellations. The rate is a little less
than one degree per day, which works out to be 360 degrees in 365
days plus some hours.
If a satellite is placed in a slightly retrograde near-polar orbit, the
equatorial bulge will twist the plane eastwards. The ideal situation is
that the orbital plane shifts (“twists”) eastward at the same rate as the
Sun appears to move against the background stars, and as a result, the
relationship of the orbital plane and the Earth-Sun line remains the
same. This means that as the satellite passes over ground locations, the
angle of sunlight—and the resulting shadows—remain fairly uniform,
no matter how much time, or how many orbits, have gone by.
This is called a “sun-synchronous” orbit. It has many obvious
applications to different types of observation platforms. The
applications are so obvious that any object in such an orbit is
presumed to be in some sort of Earth surface observation. There are a
few other satellites in the same type of orbit to remain in continuous
sunlight for reasons such as power, astronomical work, etc.
 
Recall that because the degree of orbital twisting depends on the
satellite’s altitude above the Earth, achieving the same amount of
orbital twisting (the technical term is “precession”) requires the
selection of different inclinations for different operational altitudes.
As the orbit gets higher (and farther from the Equatorial bulge), it
must have a lower inclination so as to spend a proportionately longer
time “close” to the bulge to accumulate the same amount of twisting.
As a result, it will pass over a lessened north to south range of the
Earth’s surface; therefore, sun synchronous orbits can’t be very high.

 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChrisC on 11/16/2011 02:32 am
The orbital plane precesses about 6 degrees per day in geocentric reference because of Earth's equatorial oblateness. So the geocentric plane of the departure asymptote is sweeping across the celestial sphere at some combination of this rate, earth's axial tilt, and Earth's movement around the sun.

I was disoriented by this response earlier today because at first I thought it had been posed by Jim, not JimO, and it was so elegantly written ...

And now JimO comes along and blows his previous explanation out of the water.

I asked about this topic here a year or so ago and got the brief oblateness explanation.  Now THIS is a masterpiece.  Thanks JimO for generously taking the time to dig up the explanation from your book!

And thanks MichaelJ for that piece you did on the legal ramifications.  Very interesting.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/16/2011 03:12 am
Oh no.  I'm frightened to say Jim O's explanation is just about exactly what I had envisioned, but it seemed so simple I didn't say it.  Must be reading too many of Jorge's posts.  On the other hand, I'm proud to say I still don't understand what this has to do with an asymptote to a Mars transfer orbit since it's so highly inclined.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: just-nick on 11/16/2011 03:40 am
JimO, you mean this:

http://space.au.af.mil/books/oberg/

  -N
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/16/2011 04:39 am
Oh no.  I'm frightened to say Jim O's explanation is just about exactly what I had envisioned, but it seemed so simple I didn't say it.  Must be reading too many of Jorge's posts.  On the other hand, I'm proud to say I still don't understand what this has to do with an asymptote to a Mars transfer orbit since it's so highly inclined.

Try this:
The trajectory to Mars leaves Earth in a particular direction.
If the axis of rotation of that orbit were pointed in that direction, the spacecraft would have to make a right angle turn, after killing off all of the orbital velocity.  Obviously that won't work.
The idea is to add to the orbital momentum.  This works when the trajectory to Mars is in the plane of the orbit.  When the plane of the orbit rotates too far from the trajectory, the correction becomes unaffordable from an energy and momentum standpoint.

Or this:
Thing of the Mars departure in reverse.  The line to Mars runs back towards the Earth.  Wherever it would pass the Earth, the line swings around Earth in a hyperbola.  If the collection of these lines is limited to those where the perigee of the hyperbola matches some altitude, you get this hyperbolic cylinder, with the tangent points forming the circle.
The center of the circle is the line along the trajectory through the center of the Earth. 
If a satellite passes through that point, it then hits that circle at normal incidence.  If it gets a quick boost to escape velocity, plus a specific velocity, it leaves along one of the hyperbolas and is off to Mars.
That circle is fixed in space, or rather, moving very slowly over a period of days.  If the orbit normal is regressing around the Earth, it may not intersect the circle, never mind go through the center of it.  The energy to force it to the center is the energy for a big plane change, which we know is beyond the S/C capability.

Is that any better?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/16/2011 04:47 am
Oh no.  I'm frightened to say Jim O's explanation is just about exactly what I had envisioned, but it seemed so simple I didn't say it.  Must be reading too many of Jorge's posts.  On the other hand, I'm proud to say I still don't understand what this has to do with an asymptote to a Mars transfer orbit since it's so highly inclined.

Inclination is the problem. If everything is in plane, it's merely a matter of timing the burn to give you a proper asymptote.

But there's multiple inclinations involved - Fobos-Grunt to earth, earth to the sun, Mars to the sun, and Phobos to Mars. If the Fobos-Grunt around earth plane doesn't line up close enough with the desired heliocentric plane, your existing orbital momentum is largely wasted and you need a lot more delta-V to make up for it.

However, if I'm following the geometry properly here, the precession at this altitude is a 60 day cycle, so it flips 180 degrees after 30 days giving you proper alignment on the other half of your orbit.

A related thought I had - the launch window extended through November 21, I believe. However, the extremes of the acceptable launch window still provides some propellant margin because obviously, problems can come up after launch. So...if sometime around 30 days after launch the precession of the orbital plane has flipped it 180 degrees, might there still be a chance of reaching Mars if a recovery occurs by that time?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: sdsds on 11/16/2011 07:06 am
Naively making the simplifying assumption that Earth, Mars and spacecraft heliocentric orbits are coplanar, a propulsively efficient elliptical trajectory from Earth to Mars needs to depart in the direction of the Earth's motion around the Sun.  I can't visualize how the F-G geocentric orbit at its high inclination can ever have a velocity vector pointing in that direction.

Thus I'm assuming the intended heliocentric transfer ellipse was not in (e.g. was "above") the ecliptic plane.  Where am I going with this?  It seems like after 180 degrees of precession, the F-G geocentric orbit would facilitate an equivalent transfer ellipse that was "below" the ecliptic plane.  My question for those who understand this stuff is whether that analysis is simply too naive to be useful?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Proponent on 11/16/2011 07:16 am
Regardless of inclination with respect to the earth's equator, the velocity vector can align with the earth's orbital motion about the sun at some point in the orbit.  The craft may will be above or below the ecliptic plane at the time, but that hardly matters, since the out-of-plane distance is just a few thousand kilometers, which is a small fraction of the distance to the sun.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/16/2011 08:13 am
Oh no.  I'm frightened to say Jim O's explanation is just about exactly what I had envisioned, but it seemed so simple I didn't say it.  Must be reading too many of Jorge's posts.  On the other hand, I'm proud to say I still don't understand what this has to do with an asymptote to a Mars transfer orbit since it's so highly inclined.

Allow me to point you to a nice primer on interplanetary orbital mechanics posted on this very same forum several years ago:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=1337.msg84606#msg84606

Has some nice illustrations which should make understanding why F-G would need to be in a specific plane (since its inclination is fixed) to hit a specific TMI trajectory.

In particular, this post is the kicker for F-G's situation: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=1337.msg84837#msg84837
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/16/2011 12:32 pm
The latest from Ria Novosti.  Attempts to communicate with the spacecraft continue to fail, and the apogee of the spacecraft's orbit has decreased.

http://tinyurl.com/cnylco3
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/16/2011 01:09 pm
Regardless of inclination with respect to the earth's equator, the velocity vector can align with the earth's orbital motion about the sun at some point in the orbit.  The craft may will be above or below the ecliptic plane at the time, but that hardly matters, since the out-of-plane distance is just a few thousand kilometers, which is a small fraction of the distance to the sun.

This is exactly where I went wrong.  I was thinking you'd have to be coplaner and in the ecliptic at the same time.  Duh...Mars is far away, that's irrelevant!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/16/2011 01:22 pm
On the other hand, I'm proud to say I still don't understand what this has to do with an asymptote to a Mars transfer orbit since it's so highly inclined.
FG  and Mars.

(Don't embed images - it breaks the internet ;) - Chris).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/16/2011 01:50 pm
Any guesses as to why P-G is slowly ascending? Off the top of my head, it's either propellent outgassing or possibly excess RCS activity caused by the IAU trying to square the circle of LEO as opposed to a deep space cruise.

It's just the perigee that seems to be ascending. The apogee is coming down even faster and the mean altitude with it.  Just what is causing the perigee behavior isn't clear, though outgassing or attitude thruster firings have been suggested.  There's also some slight possibility that the orbital elements coming out of Space Command are in error -- I think that's unlikely, though it's happened before.

Uh-oh.  I just got the latest orbital elements and they show the mean altitude increasing, then decreasing, then increasing again.  I'm really not sure what's going on here.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simonbp on 11/16/2011 02:57 pm
Chile, do you have a table of the mean altitude/semimajor axis values you could post?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/16/2011 03:42 pm
Fobos - Grunt and the Chinese satellite both have, amongst other things, UHF antennas and communication systems. 
see: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=YINGHUO-1
UHF transceivers are used by Ham radio operators to communicate with cubesats and other small satellites placed in low orbits.

So the stories about being unable to communicate with Phobos - Grunt, because the earth transmitters are too strong and their beams too narrow, are not credible. This can be the case for the X band but not for UHF.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: just-nick on 11/16/2011 03:48 pm
Fobos - Grunt and the Chinese satellite both have, amongst other things, UHF antennas and communication systems. 
But this is useless unless those UHF systems are configured to allow commanding of the spacecraft. And, for that matter, unless they are turned on.

--N
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/16/2011 04:06 pm
Chile, do you have a table of the mean altitude/semimajor axis values you could post?

Here you go:



  UTC Epoch           Mean Altitude
YYDDD.dddddddd       kilometers

11312.89839094        274.8521   
11313.14788776        281.6713   
11313.39819696        281.2676   
11313.58551366        281.0564   
11313.89772518        280.9048   
11313.89772540        280.8227   
11314.14749491        280.6525   
11314.33481518        280.4674   
11314.77184893        280.0384   
11314.95914282        280.1417   
11315.20886687        280.1761   
11315.83319279        280.0165   
11316.08288834        279.8168       
11316.39501126        279.8157                   
11316.83198086        279.4874           
11317.01923030        279.1055           
11317.08163703        279.0343           
11317.51854193        278.5565       
11317.83055630        278.2568       
11318.01776824        278.1408           
11318.26738376        278.0658       
11318.89142147        277.5679   
11319.07858799        277.4156   
11319.45294171        277.1089   
11319.70248387        276.7967   
11320.13914578        277.0736   
11320.26397368        276.7125   
11320.45111420        276.7691   

I'd suggest not trusting the altitudes much past the second place to the right of the decimal.

Edit: To convert day of year to the civil calendar, see http://disc.gsfc.nasa.gov/julian_calendar.shtml
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nittany Lion on 11/16/2011 04:09 pm
However, the original swerve to the left (westwards) is NOT
counterbalanced, so the satellite’s orbital plane has been effectively
shifted a small amount.

Something is missing; either from this explanation or from my brain. Help me decide which.

For JimO’s equator crossing from the southwest, the satellite is initially pulled to the west and, after the equator crossing, pulled back to the east. So, I’m thinking, there is no change in the plane of the orbit.

If the shifts are asymmetric, i.e., the westward shift is larger than the eastward shift, then the relative magnitude of the shifts is reversed one-half orbit later when the equator is crossed from the north. Again, I’m thinking, there is no change in the plane of the orbit.

If the rotation of the earth during the equator crossing is a factor (a possible reason why the westward shift is larger than the eastward), then why do retrograde orbits shift to the east?

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2011 04:12 pm

So the stories about being unable to communicate with Phobos - Grunt, because the earth transmitters are too strong and their beams too narrow, are not credible. This can be the case for the X band but not for UHF.

Yes, they are. UHF is not for commanding the spacecraft and is not viable for deep space.  UHF is only for a science experiment at Mars.

So what is your point?

Why do you keep thinking there is a conspiracy.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/16/2011 04:18 pm
But this is useless unless those UHF systems are configured to allow commanding of the spacecraft. And, for that matter, unless they are turned on.

No spacecraft, so big, relies on a single communication unit. All of them have, beside high frequency high gain antenna, UHF or VHF systems all the time.
It simply does not make sense to send the spaceship just with an active X band antenna and later using it to activate the UHF module, the backup, which is slow but much more reliable than a dish antenna, because it can communicate in any condition and at any orientation.

Mars Rovers have also UHF modules and this is the emergency antenna. In the first moments on the surface it is this antenna that send and receives data not the high gain one.
"each rover carries 3 much smaller antennas — one that can move in different directions called the high gain antenna, and two others that are fixed — the low gain and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) antennas. When a rover uses the high gain antenna to speak directly with Earth, it is important that Earth be in view of the rover. That's because this type of communication is a direct shot to Earth, so Earth must be above the martian horizon. The high gain antenna must also be in the correct position. It can spin around so that the entire rover doesn't have to waste energy twisting and turning to get in the right orientation to face Earth. However, in the first few hours of the mission, before the high gain antenna is up and running, the low gain (low-bandwidth) antenna is put into action. Again, Earth must be above the martian horizon as the low gain is also a direct-to-Earth communicator. But the low gain antenna does not have to be pointed at the Earth. Its signal is sent out in all directions at once. We say it’s “omnidirectional”.
see: http://athena.cornell.edu/kids/bn_special_report.html

The fact that Russians do not have UHF like mars rovers and many other spacecrafts is simply not credible. Just to rely on the self capabilities of a dish antenna to orient itself to the earth is simply irresponsible. Only and idiat could have designed such a spacecraft.   
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2011 04:23 pm

No spacecraft, so big, relies on a single communication unit. All of them have, beside high frequency high gain antenna, UHF or VHF systems all the time.
It simply does not make sense to send the spaceship just with an active X band antenna and later using it to activate the UHF module, the backup, which is slow but much more reliable than a dish antenna, because it can communicate in any condition and at any orientation.

Wrong.  They do only rely on frequency system.  MSL, Juno, etc use only  X-band for comm with earth.    UHF is not used for deep space.  they have multiple transmitters and receivers.  But if the spacecraft software is messed up, then it does matter how many there are.

Again, UHF is only for a science experiment at Mars.

UHF on MSL is only used to communicate with other spacecraft in MSL orbit and not with earth.

You are showing the lack of understanding spacecraft design.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2011 04:34 pm
But this is useless unless those UHF systems are configured to allow commanding of the spacecraft. And, for that matter, unless they are turned on.

No spacecraft, so big, relies on a single communication unit. All of them have, beside high frequency high gain antenna, UHF or VHF systems all the time.
It simply does not make sense to send the spaceship just with an active X band antenna and later using it to activate the UHF module, the backup, which is slow but much more reliable than a dish antenna, because it can communicate in any condition and at any orientation.

Mars Rovers have also UHF modules and this is the emergency antenna. In the first moments on the surface it is this antenna that send and receives data not the high gain one.
"each rover carries 3 much smaller antennas — one that can move in different directions called the high gain antenna, and two others that are fixed — the low gain and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) antennas. When a rover uses the high gain antenna to speak directly with Earth, it is important that Earth be in view of the rover. That's because this type of communication is a direct shot to Earth, so Earth must be above the martian horizon. The high gain antenna must also be in the correct position. It can spin around so that the entire rover doesn't have to waste energy twisting and turning to get in the right orientation to face Earth. However, in the first few hours of the mission, before the high gain antenna is up and running, the low gain (low-bandwidth) antenna is put into action. Again, Earth must be above the martian horizon as the low gain is also a direct-to-Earth communicator. But the low gain antenna does not have to be pointed at the Earth. Its signal is sent out in all directions at once. We say it’s “omnidirectional”.
see: http://athena.cornell.edu/kids/bn_special_report.html

The fact that Russians do not have UHF like mars rovers and many other spacecrafts is simply not credible. Just to rely on the self capabilities of a dish antenna to orient itself to the earth is simply irresponsible. Only and idiat could have designed such a spacecraft.   

You are wrong again and your example does not support your case.

Those antennas on MER rovers only can be used after it landed. Those antennas would not help in this situation. Also, the UHF could not communicate with earth.  And the other two were X-band.  One was a high gain, which would have to deploy and the other low gain.

On Phobos - Grunt, the same is true.  The UHF can not communicate with earth.  The X-band high gain had to wait for deployment and low gate should have worked, but it is blocked by a tank that should have been jettisoned.  Yes, there is a design flaw in that but the rest of the architecture is ok.

Also, if it is a software problem, then the antennas don't matter. The spacecraft wouldn't listen anyways.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/16/2011 04:34 pm
From Universe Today: Phobos-Grunt's Mysterious Thruster Activation

http://www.universetoday.com/91037/phobos-grunts-mysterious-thruster-activation-a-function-of-safe-mode-or-just-good-luck (http://www.universetoday.com/91037/phobos-grunts-mysterious-thruster-activation-a-function-of-safe-mode-or-just-good-luck)/
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/16/2011 04:49 pm
For JimO’s equator crossing from the southwest, the satellite is initially pulled to the west and, after the equator crossing, pulled back to the east. So, I’m thinking, there is no change in the plane of the orbit.

You ARE getting it. The orbital plane's inclination to the equator does not change, but its position in inertial space has slightly twisted to the west. The path after the equator crossing is parallel to, but offset to the left from, the path WITHOUT the effect of the orbital bulge extra mass.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/16/2011 04:54 pm
UHF is not used for deep space.
Yes it is, as an emergency system. I gave you the example of Mars Rovers. Sorry, but you look to be in denial.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/16/2011 04:56 pm
I just got a full confirmation from an interplanetary navigation professional of my intuitive -- but non-expert -- concern over the launch window from an orbiting vehicle.

Here's what he emailed me, and I intend to quote it for a story so I'm not revealing his name here.

"You are right in bringing up the orientation of the intermediate parking orbit, which Phobos-Grunt is now in, with respect to the right ascension and declination of the outgoing hyperbola required for a transfer trajectory to Mars.

"The parking orbit indeed is undergoing a rotation (also referred to as nodal regression) of several degrees per day and no longer is oriented as would be required for insertion into the right Earth escape hyperbola.

"So even if - hypothetically - they solved the problem of not having command access to the spacecraft, then managed to fix whatever else is wrong and effectively were ready to go, they still could not leave immediately. They would have to wait for the current orbit plane to precess to an orientation from which they could design an appropriate contingency escape sequence."

JimO back -- that's the operative statement: "they still could not leave immediately". Waiting for orbital precession will see the Earth-Mars window CLOSE before the planar window re-opens.

All of the official assurrances from Roskosmos, that they still have a chance to get off to a Mars mission after a little delay -- are totally BOGUS. And I suspect Popovkin, who has been repeating these promises to the press, has been deliberately misinformed by mission managers at IKI and Lavochkin. Which will make him mighty upset when he catches on, because he is highly intelligent, an experienced spaceflight professional who ran an admirably tight ship in his military career.




Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/16/2011 05:11 pm
JimO back -- that's the operative statement: "they still could not leave immediately". Waiting for orbital precession will see the Earth-Mars window CLOSE before the planar window re-opens.

Would you mind providing some actual numbers to support this conclusion since you're willing to call all chances of doing so "totally BOGUS"?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/16/2011 05:19 pm
Waiting for orbital precession will see the Earth-Mars window CLOSE before the planar window re-opens.
If control of Phobos - Grunt is regained maybe it can be redirected to other celestial body like an near earth asteroid and land there.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/16/2011 05:20 pm
Interesting summary.  Look down the page for uzheStudent's post.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php%3Ft%3D10631%26postdays%3D0%26postorder%3Dasc%26start%3D7380%26sid%3D04d505287d33917be0006f401910ee45&usg=ALkJrhjQ-R65nJVNu6AX7nhepJlyydi0KA
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/16/2011 05:23 pm
Would you mind providing some actual numbers to support this conclusion since you're willing to call all chances of doing so "totally BOGUS"?

The Earth-Mars window nominally runs until late November, although official statements now claim they can launch through early December.

The parking orbit was perfect on the day it was launched, November 8.

Since that date, it has been precessing in inertial space at about 6 degrees per day. Somebody who has looked at recent TLEs can give a more precise value.

For the ascending node to precess around to the same inertial longitude [not quite the same as geocentric longitude, which is a frame that is itself shifting about a degree per day as Earth circles the Sun],  which would open the planar window again, will take 60 days.

Sixty days from November 9 is January 8. The Earth-Mars window will have been closed for a month.

If command is established, the probe really can do a consolation mission into deep space, although any hard target seems unlikely. But just a long mission and an engine restart a year later -- one of the mission plan features that always made me very, very nervous -- will provide important engineering data for the follow-on mission. and deploying the Chinese satellite there will provide tracking practice there's no other way to get.

There MIGHT be an opportunity to do the insertion burn when the plane has shifted halfway, but I can't wrap my mind around it without a headache, and need to ask some experts about it...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/16/2011 05:28 pm
Why would it need to precess 360 degrees? 180 degrees and it's in the same plane of the target hyperbola.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Mike_1179 on 11/16/2011 05:42 pm
UHF is not used for deep space.
Yes it is, as an emergency system. I gave you the example of Mars Rovers. Sorry, but you look to be in denial.


You do realize what Jim does for a living, right?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2011 05:45 pm
UHF is not used for deep space.
Yes it is, as an emergency system. I gave you the example of Mars Rovers. Sorry, but you look to be in denial.


You are wrong.  I can't help if you interpreted data wrong.  The Mars Rovers low gain antenna is X-band and not UHF.  You have an agenda and facts will not change your mind.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/16/2011 05:48 pm
Why would it need to precess 360 degrees?
Orbit precession means see this pictures (http://www.google.ro/search?hl=ro&q=orbit+precesion+animation&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=2136l9482l0l9826l25l22l0l1l1l0l344l4227l0.14.6.2l23l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=667&bih=325&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi#um=1&hl=ro&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=orbit+precesion&pbx=1&oq=orbit+precesion&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=181295l181295l0l181634l1l1l0l0l0l0l72l72l1l1l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=5b80ded9990a678&biw=667&bih=325). Only after 360 degree you have the initial situation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/16/2011 05:58 pm
Why would it need to precess 360 degrees?
Orbit precession means see this pictures (http://www.google.ro/search?hl=ro&q=orbit+precesion+animation&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=2136l9482l0l9826l25l22l0l1l1l0l344l4227l0.14.6.2l23l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=667&bih=325&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi#um=1&hl=ro&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=orbit+precesion&pbx=1&oq=orbit+precesion&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=181295l181295l0l181634l1l1l0l0l0l0l72l72l1l1l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=5b80ded9990a678&biw=667&bih=325). Only after 360 degree you have the initial situation.


Sure, but why can't you shoot off of the bottom (decending node) rather than the top (ascending node)?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/16/2011 06:00 pm
Why would it need to precess 360 degrees?
Orbit precession means see this pictures. Only after 360 degree you have the initial situation.

Check out the links I posted earlier today to see why the same initial situation is an unnecessary constraint for the escape injection. It's not as clear cut as that.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/16/2011 06:05 pm
UHF is not used for deep space.
Yes it is, as an emergency system. I gave you the example of Mars Rovers. Sorry, but you look to be in denial.


You are wrong.  I can't help if you interpreted data wrong.  The Mars Rovers low gain antenna is X-band and not UHF.  You have an agenda and facts will not change your mind.

The rovers relay data to satellites orbiting around Mars via a UHF link.  Those satellites forward the data back to earth via a microwave link.

I doubt the UHF link would be accessible during launch and cruse because the rover is neatly sandwiched between a heat shield and backshell until deployment on Mars.

I'm aware of two microwave antennas on the rover.  There's a dish for higher communication rates and an omni atop a mast.  The ground communicated through the omni to rescue Spirit when control was lost.

---  CHAS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simplex on 11/16/2011 06:11 pm
Sure, but why can't you shoot off of the bottom (decending node) rather than the top (ascending node)?
Even if you accelerate, using the engines, to the perigee you will finally escape earth gravitation while the spacecraft is traveling in the apogee direction if you want to stay fuel efficient.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/16/2011 06:17 pm
Sure, but why can't you shoot off of the bottom (decending node) rather than the top (ascending node)?
Even if you accelerate, using the engines, to the perigee you will finally escape earth gravitation while the spacecraft is traveling in the apogee direction if you want to stay fuel efficient.

descending and ascending nodes are not related to perigee and apogee.  It has to do with crossing the equator or ecliptic.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/16/2011 06:21 pm
Sure, but why can't you shoot off of the bottom (decending node) rather than the top (ascending node)?
Even if you accelerate, using the engines, to the perigee you will finally escape earth gravitation while the spacecraft is traveling in the apogee direction if you want to stay fuel efficient.

Perigee and apogee in the current orbit are pretty much irrelevant because they're very similar (in units of Earth radii). The problem is the plane of the parking orbit and how it's oriented with respect to the aimpoint on the celestial sphere. You want the orbit plane to cross that point at the time of the injection.

After some further thinking about it, I think that the only kind of orbit that is the same situation after 180 degrees for all points in the sky in this respect is a polar Earth orbit. Which wouldn't then regress in the first place.
F-G obviously isn't on that orbit. 180 degree regression may or may not bring it to a usable injection plane, if the escape burn was to happen near the equator I think it might be doable.

edit: Looking at the original burn profile (http://phobos.cosmos.ru/uploads/pics/ground_track_01.jpg), I'm not sure that's close enough to the equator to make a escape after 180 deg doable.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nittany Lion on 11/16/2011 06:25 pm
For JimO’s equator crossing from the southwest, the satellite is initially pulled to the west and, after the equator crossing, pulled back to the east. So, I’m thinking, there is no change in the plane of the orbit.

You ARE getting it. The orbital plane's inclination to the equator does not change, but its position in inertial space has slightly twisted to the west. The path after the equator crossing is parallel to, but offset to the left from, the path WITHOUT the effect of the orbital bulge extra mass.

I wasn’t getting it, but I do now. Thank you!

Here’s an analogy: I’m driving north in a city with a rectangular street grid. I turn left and one block later turn right. I’m back to driving north but I’m one block west of my prior line of travel.

For retrograde it’s right turn, left turn, and one block east.
 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/16/2011 06:48 pm
JimO back -- that's the operative statement: "they still could not leave immediately". Waiting for orbital precession will see the Earth-Mars window CLOSE before the planar window re-opens.

All of the official assurrances from Roskosmos, that they still have a chance to get off to a Mars mission after a little delay -- are totally BOGUS.
I'm certainly not an expert, but it seems like there should be other options. For example, a long cruise + earth flybys like Nozomi. IIRC Nozomi also used a lunar flyby on departure. Now, the longevity of past Russian deep space probes suggests the odds are low, but it seems premature to assume the mission is lost even if the nominal trajectory is no longer available.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Patchouli on 11/16/2011 07:43 pm
From Universe Today: Phobos-Grunt's Mysterious Thruster Activation

http://www.universetoday.com/91037/phobos-grunts-mysterious-thruster-activation-a-function-of-safe-mode-or-just-good-luck (http://www.universetoday.com/91037/phobos-grunts-mysterious-thruster-activation-a-function-of-safe-mode-or-just-good-luck)/

I wonder if it could be the Fregat doing what is known as a propellant setting maneuver.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/16/2011 07:51 pm
I wonder if it could be the Fregat doing what is known as a propellant setting maneuver. 

Excellent suggestion -- a low-thrust 'settling burn' ['setting' a typo?] is on the official Fobos-Grunt ascent profile, to precede each MDU (AKA 'son of Fregat'] burn.

It might be caught in a loop trying to get to MDU ignition but aborting prior to issuing that command.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: just-nick on 11/16/2011 07:53 pm
It might be caught in a loop trying to get to MDU ignition but aborting prior to issuing that command.
In which case propellant depletion is a real issue.

--N
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: flagran on 11/16/2011 07:58 pm
I wander if Phobos - Grunt has an VHF antenna. Solar panels sides look like VHF antennas.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Patchouli on 11/16/2011 07:59 pm
It might be caught in a loop trying to get to MDU ignition but aborting prior to issuing that command.
In which case propellant depletion is a real issue.

--N

Esp if the RCS uses separate propellant tanks.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: theridane on 11/16/2011 08:26 pm
The original Fregat has 1350 seconds of RCS firing time (42 kg of hydrazine). That's not enough to explain the apparent boosts we've seen, I think.

Wouldn't hydrazine firings be visible on infrared?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Danderman on 11/16/2011 08:47 pm
It might be caught in a loop trying to get to MDU ignition but aborting prior to issuing that command.
In which case propellant depletion is a real issue.

--N

Esp if the RCS uses separate propellant tanks.

Which it does. I believe the RCS tanks can contain 85 kg of prop.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 11/16/2011 08:59 pm
Wouldn't hydrazine firings be visible on infrared?

Do you mean, if someone was constantly watching the spacecraft using the appropriate equipment?

To my uneducated mind it does seem plausible that the spacecraft could be stuck in a cycle where it prepares to fire the main engine, settles the propellant, and then hits a problem causing some kind of reset, and on it goes again.

Has it been established beyond doubt that the apparent increases in perigee are beyond the scope of observational innaccuracies?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/16/2011 09:27 pm
JimO back -- that's the operative statement: "they still could not leave immediately". Waiting for orbital precession will see the Earth-Mars window CLOSE before the planar window re-opens.

All of the official assurrances from Roskosmos, that they still have a chance to get off to a Mars mission after a little delay -- are totally BOGUS.
I'm certainly not an expert, but it seems like there should be other options. For example, a long cruise + earth flybys like Nozomi. IIRC Nozomi also used a lunar flyby on departure. Now, the longevity of past Russian deep space probes suggests the odds are low, but it seems premature to assume the mission is lost even if the nominal trajectory is no longer available.

In this case I agree with hop's statements, but don't know if Roskosmos' statements reflect that or just a blind "I'm not dead yet!".

There may indeed be a trajectory that gets to Mars approximately one Martian year later, that still has the same hyperbolic excess velocity leaving Earth.  A Martian year is (1.88 Earth years) is ~2.7 times the mean Hohmann tranfer time (0.71 years).  JPL could probably find a solution within these constraints, and the Russians have plenty of people who are good at very high level math.

Whether a Russian spacecraft could last that long is questionable, as hop said.

edit: typo
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: sdsds on 11/16/2011 11:18 pm
I want to totally thank those who patiently explained that even for an ecliptic plane departure the LEO doesn't need to be coplanar with the ecliptic!  A big thanks also to JimO for his precession explanation, which actually does make intuitive sense.

Having displayed my orbital mechanics naivete I am now going to openly display a cultural prejudice:  the Russian space program undoubtedly has (and always has had) people who are really good at this stuff.  They may for example have someone who right now can visualize other departure opportunities in the coming days that are somehow trickier than the simple case we have mostly been discussing.  (This would include the lunar flyby, the Earth-return flyby, and maybe others within the F-G delta-v budget which merely delay Mars arrival.)  Maybe the Russian officials and spokespeople have access to that orbital mechanics wizard and trust him or her?

Oops: sort of cross-posted with and thus repeated Comga above.  Sorry!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/16/2011 11:32 pm
Research: bi elliptical transfer orbits. If anything can save this mission, it would have to be some variation on it.

Btw. It is a Russian variation on the method that is used for most (all?) Russian GTO/GSO missions.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Eric Hedman on 11/17/2011 12:56 am
I found some interesting pages on the Phobos Grunt spacecraft on the RIA NOVOSTI web site.  It's worth looking at

http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20111115/168723275.html (http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20111115/168723275.html)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/17/2011 01:06 am
I found some interesting pages on the Phobos Grunt spacecraft on the RIA NOVOSTI web site.  It's worth looking at

http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20111115/168723275.html (http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20111115/168723275.html)
Nice page Eric, thanks for posting it. :)

Robert
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Eric Hedman on 11/17/2011 01:18 am
I found some interesting pages on the Phobos Grunt spacecraft on the RIA NOVOSTI web site.  It's worth looking at

http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20111115/168723275.html (http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20111115/168723275.html)
Nice page Eric, thanks for posting it. :)

Robert
You are welcome.  After looking at those pages it is even sadder that this spacecraft probably won't be able to carry out its mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: jcm on 11/17/2011 01:36 am
The four separation motor covers from FG's Zenit second stage have now been cataloged, with out of sequence catalog numbers 37862 to 37865 (previously reserved from the Shenzhou 8 sep motor covers, which apparently were not tracked).
These debris objects are as expected and have higher (500 km) apogees as usual; they
originate from the Zenit second stage.. so don't make the mistake of thinking they are evidence of some kind of failed FG burn or breakup.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: flagran on 11/17/2011 02:50 am
1) The status of Fobos-Ground is known as long as they have downlink.
2) Sending an intervention mission to repair Fobos is out of question as long as it will be cheaper to send a Fobos 2 mission in 2013 and abandon the current one.
3) The Orbital plan needs a full 360 rotation in order the satellite comes in the initial position with the same speed as a vector.
http://www.atmos.albany.edu/deas/atmclasses/atm422/polanim.gif
Even the orbit is circular and it looks like an 180 degree rotation is enough to have the same situation as in the beginning, in reality it is not, simply because the satellite will have the wrong speed, it will rotate in reverse. It is not self evident but the satellite will rotate the opposite direction after a 180 degree rotation of the orbital plane.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/17/2011 03:20 am
1) The status of Fobos-Ground is known as long as they have downlink.


If they had downlink, then there might not be a problem.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/17/2011 04:19 am
Could the shuttle have rendezvoused with F-G?  Would there be any chance that an EVA could find a fixable problem?

Here's my answer to your question from the launch (and first few days thread).  On second thought I don't think I made it sound difficult enough at the end.  We haven't even discussed the difficulties with rendezvousing with a small non-cooperative object in space.  By non-cooperative I mean there is no way to turn off the attitude hold (assuming the observer reports are true).  Imagine if the attitude control system decides to perform attitude control after the RMS grapples FG (don't know how the grapple would be done since it doesn't have any grapple fixtures) or when an astronaut touches it. Not a pretty picture!

However, there are plenty of other reasons that a rescue mission wouldn't work.

And we wouldn't risk a Shuttle orbiter and a Shuttle crew for the off-chance that you might find something to fix even if you had two years.

Andy

----------------------

Let me see if I can help with your question.  Under normal circumstances it took about 2 years to design a Shuttle mission.  This was if everything went well.  We didn't just drop some SRBs on the mobile crawler, slap a tank between then and then run the orbiter up the side.  It took lots of planning, analysis and checking to make sure everything would work right (or at least had a reasonable chance of everything working right).

Don't forget there is crew training.  Not just the learning to fly but the parts about what to do once you got to the objective.

In the case of this supposed "rescue" mission.  What was the objective?  To bring up a new upper stage or to magically fix the spacecraft?  If it is the former, someone would have to make the new upper stage and a cradle for the cargo bay as well as the design safe and arm circuitry - among a whole slew of things.  If it is the latter objective, then how do you fix the spacecraft?  Kind of hard to train for a spacecraft rescue when no one knows what went wrong.  If you're just up there to take a look, that doesn't buy you anything since you would probably not have the right equipment to fix the problem.

I believe if we were repeating a mission with the same orbiter (each orbiter had unique parameters), we could have done it in 2-3 months (see STS-94) but something new and untried - I'd guess about 2 years.

I might argue the supposed cost of a Shuttle flight from a few pages back (the real number depends upon who gets charged and how much of the cargo bay was used), but it isn't relevent because this rescue mission during the same launch window couldn't be done, no matter how much money was available.

So you would have as much chance as the President of the United States and the four Beatles performing the rescue mission themselves as you would being able to launch this so-called rescue mission during the current launch window.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/17/2011 05:27 am
(snip)
3) The Orbital plan needs a full 360 rotation in order the satellite comes in the initial position with the same speed as a vector.
http://www.atmos.albany.edu/deas/atmclasses/atm422/polanim.gif (http://www.atmos.albany.edu/deas/atmclasses/atm422/polanim.gif)
Even the orbit is circular and it looks like an 180 degree rotation is enough to have the same situation as in the beginning, in reality it is not, simply because the satellite will have the wrong speed, it will rotate in reverse. It is not self evident but the satellite will rotate the opposite direction after a 180 degree rotation of the orbital plane.

I believe that this statement is incorrect.  If the orbit passes through the point opposite the departure direction, the same burn is required when the S/C hits the tangent circle to escape with the requisite excess velocity .  Whether the S/C is heading north or south shouldn't make a difference.

Do others concur?
Are there subtle differences in the required burn?
It will still take about 30 days for the orbit to precess 180 degrees at 6 degrees per day, and the primary window may have close by then, even if they manage to gain control in that time.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simonbp on 11/17/2011 06:08 am
Here you go:

Here's a plot of that data with a simple least-squares linear regression fit to all the points except the first (which is an obvious outlier). The error bars are one standard deviation, and the fit is actually pretty good.

Thus, I'm still not believing the "actively thrusting" story. Some slow tumbling (and thus time-variable drag) would be perfectly sufficient to explain the variation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/17/2011 06:23 am
5 km descent in 8 days extrapolates to 20 km in 32 days.  Then its 20 km in 16 days, then 8, then 4, then 2, ... 150 km and reentry around Jan 8, plus or minus a bunch, all by rule of thumb estimates.   

So sad
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/17/2011 06:23 am
Here's a plot of that data with a simple least-squares linear regression fit to all the points except the first (which is an obvious outlier). The error bars are one standard deviation, and the fit is actually pretty good.
Why are you plotting mean altitude ? The apogee is clearly and indisputably going down, the oddity is in the perigee.

Quote
Some slow tumbling (and thus time-variable drag) would be perfectly sufficient to explain the variation.
http://digilander.libero.it/SATrack/Phobos.html?q=phobos#LNEW
Producing that by tumbling would be... impressive.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/17/2011 06:33 am
Here's a plot of that data with a simple least-squares linear regression fit to all the points except the first (which is an obvious outlier). The error bars are one standard deviation, and the fit is actually pretty good.
Why are you plotting mean altitude ? The apogee is clearly and indisputably going down, the oddity is in the perigee.

Quote
Some slow tumbling (and thus time-variable drag) would be perfectly sufficient to explain the variation.
http://digilander.libero.it/SATrack/Phobos.html?q=phobos#LNEW (http://digilander.libero.it/SATrack/Phobos.html?q=phobos#LNEW)
Producing that by tumbling would be... impressive.

But it is said to be not tumbling but oriented to the Sun.  A possibility is that some venting or anti-solar-torque ACS thrusting is prograde at apogee, increasing perigee, and retrograde at perigee, decreasing apogee.  However, the decreased mean radius would be due to drag.

Variations in the residual atmospheric density can explain some of the variability in the rate of descent, but probably not the slight apparent increase.

What is the basis for those error bars?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 11/17/2011 09:10 am
If the orbit passes through the point opposite the departure direction, the same burn is required when the S/C hits the tangent circle to escape with the requisite excess velocity .  Whether the S/C is heading north or south shouldn't make a difference.

Do others concur?

I do not. It does make a difference whether you are heading north or south as you want your velocity vector to be approximately pointing in the same direction as the Earth's rotation around the Sun at TMI.

On launch day on 8 November, PG was heading over South America at night in a north-east direction. If the 6 degree per day recession is correct, then in 30 days time (on 8 December) PG will again be heading north-east, but on the day side of the Earth. This means the velocity vector is pointing backwards, which is no good, unless you want to go to Venus. On the dark side of Earth, PG will be heading south east which is the right direction.

However, the angle of PG to the ecliptic plane will have changed. On November 8, the angle between PG and the ecliptic plane is the inclination of PG to Earth (51.6º) minus the inclination of the Earth (23.4º), that is 51.6-23.4 = 28.2º. On 8 December the inclination of PG to the ecliptic is the inclination of PG to Earth (51.6º) plus the inclination of the Earth (23.4º), that is 51.6+23.4 = 79.8º. The higher this angle the more delta-V is required to reach Mars. The higher inclination of PG on 8 December, plus being very near the end of the window may mean that PG may not have enough propellant to reach and then orbit Mars.

If the Russians can get in contact and control of PG before it re-enters and if its too late to send PG to Mars, a possible rescue plan could have PG fire its engine to put it into say a 350 by 600 km orbit. There PG will stay for two years until the next window arrives around November 2013. The period of the orbit being designed so that PG is in the right position for TMI in two years time. This will rely on the on-board batteries being able to sustain two years worth of charging and discharging, which they probably were not designed to do. Going for a higher apogee will mean less charging cycles, but PG will be passing through the Van Allen radiation belts. Using the Moon and the Lagrange points it might be possible to have PG hang around the Earth-Moon system and then dive to 300 km perigee for the kick to Mars in two years time.

So I think its possible that PG can be saved, but before this can happen contact needs to be made, which unfortunately has not happened yet.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/17/2011 09:15 am
A fault in the second-stage control systems seems to be the immediate cause. But journalist Anatoly Zak, the founding editor of russianspaceweb.com, says that the deeper problems are institutional. A culture of lax testing meant that some problems lay undetected, whereas known problems were ignored at the higher levels, he says. “The project was doomed from the beginning.”
http://www.nature.com/news/russia-gets-the-red-planet-blues-1.9361
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/17/2011 11:38 am
Seems China has thrown in the towel and considers its orbiter lost.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Yinghuo_Was_Worth_It_999.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/17/2011 12:32 pm

Ted Molczan has been studying the evolution of the PG orbit using a high-fidelity propagator: 
http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0188.html

Quote
In an effort to determine whether the perigee rise could be explained by gravitational perturbations not modeled by SGP4 (the orbital model of TLEs), I [TM] compared the actual orbital elements against those yielded by propagating the earliest reliable TLE data using the STOAG (Semi-analytic Theory of mOtion under Air drag and Gravity) software. I propagated the epoch 11313.39819696 TLE through day 11319, varying the area to mass ratio, A/m, by trial and error to match the actual rate of decay of the semi-major axis.

He concludes,

Quote
It is evident that in addition to drag, some unknown force raised the perigee at the rate of +0.633 km/d, but lowered the apogee at nearly the identical rate.

This is all somewhat in media res, so the picture could well change as more information becomes available.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/17/2011 01:31 pm
Is there a reason everyone is equating not tumbling to sun oriented? Unless someone has imaged it at high res. there is no way to prove that is sun oriented one way or another. There are other effects, like gravity gradient stabilization that can keep it from tumbling.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/17/2011 01:49 pm
A fault in the second-stage control systems seems to be the immediate cause. But journalist Anatoly Zak, the founding editor of russianspaceweb.com, says that the deeper problems are institutional. A culture of lax testing meant that some problems lay undetected, whereas known problems were ignored at the higher levels, he says. “The project was doomed from the beginning.”
http://www.nature.com/news/russia-gets-the-red-planet-blues-1.9361

That story was written two days ago and the author was just reporting rumor as fact with the "second-stage control system" theory.  I don't know even know what the second-stage would have to do with anything or was it a two-stage control system?  Meaningless words (at least that part of the story)...

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/17/2011 01:51 pm
Is there a reason everyone is equating not tumbling to sun oriented? Unless someone has imaged it at high res. there is no way to prove that is sun oriented one way or another. There are other effects, like gravity gradient stabilization that can keep it from tumbling.

No, it's not shaped right for sustained gravity gradient.  There is still torque on the vehicle from the exo-atmosphere at that altitude that would perturb the gravity gradient attitude, if even it was shaped right.

Take a look at Seasat as an example of a gravity gradient shape and cg.  Even then there were oscillations in the gravity gradient attitude due to the Earth not being a perfect sphere with uniform mass.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/17/2011 02:00 pm

Ted Molczan has been studying the evolution of the PG orbit using a high-fidelity propagator: 
http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0188.html

(snip)

He concludes,

Quote
It is evident that in addition to drag, some unknown force raised the perigee at the rate of +0.633 km/d, but lowered the apogee at nearly the identical rate.

This is all somewhat in media res, so the picture could well change as more information becomes available.


That's too regular to be something random or uncontrolled.  I'm still betting on this being RCS activity.  The IAU is probably trying to work out why the sun is moving so quickly (as it thinks it is on a transfer orbit, not LEO).  it may be compensating with lots of turns and burns, trying to fix a stability problem that isn't actually there.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/17/2011 02:06 pm
No, it's not shaped right for sustained gravity gradient. 

why do you say so? it has 75 per cent of its mass on one end (the MDU + fuel tank), a longeish truss and the rest of the mass at the other end (the lander). to me it looks like a gravity gradient-stabilized satellite!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/17/2011 02:38 pm
There is still torque on the vehicle from the exo-atmosphere at that altitude that would perturb the gravity gradient attitude, if even it was shaped right.

Good point, but if the solar arrays have deployed, it will make a good dart. All the unused fuel mass forward and panels acting as feathers dragging the rest of the vehicle back.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/17/2011 02:41 pm
No, it's not shaped right for sustained gravity gradient. 

why do you say so? it has 75 per cent of its mass on one end (the MDU + fuel tank), a longeish truss and the rest of the mass at the other end (the lander). to me it looks like a gravity gradient-stabilized satellite!

Not very long and not very big.  Physics wants long - again see Seasat and even then it wasn't fully stable.  TSS, when deployed, was an example of "long enough" for stable gravity gradient - but of course there were other issues with that project.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simonbp on 11/17/2011 02:43 pm
Why are you plotting mean altitude ? The apogee is clearly and indisputably going down, the oddity is in the perigee.

The energy of the orbit is directly proportional to the semimajor axis, and vice-versa. Drag or rocket thrusts change the kinetic energy of the vehicle, and thus the total energy of the orbit. Other forces, e.g. solar torques, precession due to oblateness, etc, would not change the total energy, but rather work to change the eccentricity and orientation of the orbit. Thus, plotting mean altitude provides a measurement that controls for all plausible forces that are not drag or thrust.

And if it is a time-variable drag effect, you would expect the largest variation in the periapse, as that is when the vehicle is moving fastest and through the thickest air.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/17/2011 03:05 pm
If the orbit passes through the point opposite the departure direction, the same burn is required when the S/C hits the tangent circle to escape with the requisite excess velocity .  Whether the S/C is heading north or south shouldn't make a difference.

Do others concur?

I do not. It does make a difference whether you are heading north or south as you want your velocity vector to be approximately pointing in the same direction as the Earth's rotation around the Sun at TMI.

We will have to remain in disagreement.

If the Russians can get in contact and control of PG before it re-enters and if its too late to send PG to Mars, a possible rescue plan could have PG fire its engine to put it into say a 350 by 600 km orbit.

That assumes that the spacecraft could split its burns into multiples.  Plus waiting for 26 months in an orbit with a 300 km perigee would lose a lot of energy.

So I think its possible that PG can be saved, but before this can happen contact needs to be made, which unfortunately has not happened yet.

We can agree on the last part of that statement, if not the first.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ringshot on 11/17/2011 03:24 pm
Is the TDRSS constellation capable of communicating with Phobos-Grunt?

It could be a solution for the contact time issue that they keep mentioning... we could even trade emergency TDRSS time for a Soyuz ride or two!

I suspect that the systems are simply incompatible though.

G'Day...Ron
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rdale on 11/17/2011 03:43 pm
Already been asked on page 47 ;) Not compatible.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: simonbp on 11/17/2011 04:20 pm
If the Russians can get in contact and control of PG before it re-enters and if its too late to send PG to Mars, a possible rescue plan could have PG fire its engine to put it into say a 350 by 600 km orbit.
That assumes that the spacecraft could split its burns into multiples.  Plus waiting for 26 months in an orbit with a 300 km perigee would lose a lot of energy.

Yeah, you don't want an elliptical (or low) long-term parking orbit. Parking it at or close to GEO would be best, but I doubt PG had the dV margin for that even before the orbit began to decay...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/17/2011 04:56 pm
Quote from: Comga

What is the basis for those error bars?

TLE fit error to the known owner's original  ephemeris can be about 0.5-1km for the LEO sats.

look on the Fig. 7 in the
http://www.centerforspace.com/downloads/files/pubs/AIAA-2008-6770.pdf
Quote
Notice that the original fit (the initial vector is epoched to the beginning of the interval) was about 500-600 m yet
after about 2 days, the error had only grown to about 4-5 km. This is fairly good for a LEO satellite.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: FinalFrontier on 11/17/2011 04:59 pm
So its now the 17th, how much longer do they have before its a failure, and does it look like its hardware related at this point?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/17/2011 05:13 pm
The higher inclination of PG on 8 December, plus being very near the end of the window may mean that PG may not have enough propellant to reach and then orbit Mars.

If the Russians can get in contact and control of PG before it re-enters and if its too late to send PG to Mars, a possible rescue plan could have PG fire its engine to put it into say a 350 by 600 km orbit. There PG will stay for two years until the next window arrives around November 2013. The period of the orbit being designed so that PG is in the right position for TMI in two years time. This will rely on the on-board batteries being able to sustain two years worth of charging and discharging, which they probably were not designed to do. Going for a higher apogee will mean less charging cycles, but PG will be passing through the Van Allen radiation belts. Using the Moon and the Lagrange points it might be possible to have PG hang around the Earth-Moon system and then dive to 300 km perigee for the kick to Mars in two years time.

So I think its possible that PG can be saved, but before this can happen contact needs to be made, which unfortunately has not happened yet.

100% agree with your words, Steven. Just add, FG has only fuel to correct calculated burns' errors. If they had more dV=~200-300m/s than they would fly at a faster trajectory.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/17/2011 05:38 pm
So its now the 17th, how much longer do they have before its a failure, and does it look like its hardware related at this point?

I think they are hoping the press just goes away, someone mentioned upcoming elections. And without telemetry there is no way to ever know... Just very educated guesses.

...oooh shiny thing...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 11/17/2011 05:40 pm
I apologize if this has already been brought up in this thread, but could the Luch 5-A satellite be (theoretically) able to communicate with PG when launched next month?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/17/2011 05:58 pm
Quote from: Comga

What is the basis for those error bars?

TLE fit error to the known owner's original  ephemeris can be about 0.5-1km for the LEO sats.

look on the Fig. 7 in the
http://www.centerforspace.com/downloads/files/pubs/AIAA-2008-6770.pdf
Quote
Notice that the original fit (the initial vector is epoched to the beginning of the interval) was about 500-600 m yet
after about 2 days, the error had only grown to about 4-5 km. This is fairly good for a LEO satellite.


Isn't that the total error and not just the altitude?  If so, then the altitude error will be considerably smaller, as satellite position uncertainties are typically mostly in the along-track position. I.e., the error ellipsoid is long and skinny, with its long axis aligned with the orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/17/2011 06:34 pm
Agree. It's total error, where cross track is much smaller than along track, but most part of it go to the range error, if you try to comm with FG. So, if they (RSA/ESA) tried to send RK command to FG it goes to targeting and doppler errors of antenna/transmitter, turned off receiver is locked on one freq... So...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Danderman on 11/17/2011 06:42 pm
All of this would have been avoid had Lavochkin implemented an uplink channel for the Fregat/MDU. The workarounds to avoid this turned out to kill the mission.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JWag on 11/17/2011 06:43 pm
I don't believe I've seen this information mentioned before:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#orbit1

Quote
...Telemetry from the spacecraft showed that all its onboard systems had been in operational condition: solar panels had been deployed and the orientation and stabilization system, SOiS, correctly oriented the spacecraft toward the Sun...

Though this is from an unofficial source.



Also:
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_kik.html#esa
Quote
...Roskosmos reportedly provided its European partners with orbital parameters of Phobos-Grunt for the purpose of guiding the antennas, as well as with software code...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Danderman on 11/17/2011 06:50 pm
I don't believe I've seen this information mentioned before:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#orbit1

Quote
...Telemetry from the spacecraft showed that all its onboard systems had been in operational condition: solar panels had been deployed and the orientation and stabilization system, SOiS, correctly oriented the spacecraft toward the Sun...

Though this is from an unofficial source.

I am sorry, but I don't have a lot of confidence in this type of report from Russia. There is always the possibility that someone simply relied data from the cyclogram, ie what was supposed to have happened by this date.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/17/2011 06:53 pm
If the Russians can get in contact and control of PG before it re-enters and if its too late to send PG to Mars, a possible rescue plan could have PG fire its engine to put it into say a 350 by 600 km orbit. There PG will stay for two years until the next window arrives around November 2013. The period of the orbit being designed so that PG is in the right position for TMI in two years time. This will rely on the on-board batteries being able to sustain two years worth of charging and discharging, which they probably were not designed to do. Going for a higher apogee will mean less charging cycles, but PG will be passing through the Van Allen radiation belts. Using the Moon and the Lagrange points it might be possible to have PG hang around the Earth-Moon system and then dive to 300 km perigee for the kick to Mars in two years time.

So I think its possible that PG can be saved, but before this can happen contact needs to be made, which unfortunately has not happened yet.

This is one of the alternate scenarios I was considering in arguing against the fairly well-reasoned beliefs that orbital precession would doom the mission even if was recovered.

However, in addition to the challenges you mentioned that limit my confidence in it being a realistic option, I also have to also bring up thermal control. In particular, it seems likely the drop tank has no active thermal control for its fuel, since it was supposed to be empty and discarded a few hours after launch.

Perhaps passive thermal control would be sufficient to keep that fuel at an appropriate temperature (not frozen, not boiling and venting). Otherwise there is a limited time frame to utilize this fuel.

In such case, that may leave the only option as going immediately into a heliocentric orbit, if one can be worked out that intercepts Mars at a later date.

Sufficient attitude control fuel for the extended mission is another concern.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/17/2011 07:20 pm
I don't believe I've seen this information mentioned before:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#orbit1

Quote
...Telemetry from the spacecraft showed that all its onboard systems had been in operational condition: solar panels had been deployed and the orientation and stabilization system, SOiS, correctly oriented the spacecraft toward the Sun...

Though this is from an unofficial source.


Looks like an attempt to pull all available information into one place. There are many conflicting statements on the page. (I did notice that they mentioned NSF)

Nice summary, but a grain of salt...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/17/2011 07:28 pm
In such case, that may leave the only option as going immediately into a heliocentric orbit, if one can be worked out that intercepts Mars at a later date.
If you can arrange earth swingby(s) in the interim, there is the possibility win back a substantial amount of dV. The Nozomi option, as it were. It seems this should be possible if you are willing to accept a long enough transit time.

Interesting posts on NK forum
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=839013&highlight=#839013
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=839522&highlight=#839522

The second one (if google translate hasn't completely lead me astray) purports to describe some details about what conditions could triggered safe mode and how it was supposed to work. I make no claims about the credibility or otherwise of the poster.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/17/2011 07:30 pm
None of what we've been talking about makes one bit of difference if they can't get command and control over the spacecraft.  Unless I've missed something, there has been no sign of that happening.  Have I missed something?  Without it, we're looking at an uncontrolled entry, and nothing more.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/17/2011 07:41 pm
None of what we've been talking about makes one bit of difference if they can't get command and control over the spacecraft.
Obviously.
Quote
Unless I've missed something, there has been no sign of that happening. 
Correct. The probability they will regain control appears extremely low, but it's not completely ruled out yet.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/17/2011 07:48 pm
Still no ground-enabled command or control.

I find it strange that Fobos-Grunt is supposedly in a safe mode, which has locked it into solar inertial.  Yet, there is no telemetry.  Usually a "safe mode" means you cut power to all science, keep power going to the spacecraft and then radio home that you have a problem at the lowest possible bitrate and listen for help.  I understand that listen for help may be blocked but telemetry-out should not be blocked (or at least not blocked completely).  Also solar inertial means that at some part of the orbit, the "side" of the spacecraft is facing Earth and at least one antenna should not be blocked.

As far as I know, except for possibly shortly after spacecraft separation, there has been no telemetry.  If we believe the spacecraft is getting power, then that implies that the radio-transmission system (including possibly the telemetry formatting computer system) has a problem, doesn't it?  Add the lack of a burn and that the spacecraft is apparently successfully orienting itself to the Sun as other clues.  With those three items, perhaps the only single failure that could account for both and leave the spacecraft apparently intact would be a partial loss of power. 

A massive computer hardware failure where only the safe mode capability was left (a separate safe-mode processor?) doesn't explain the lack of telemetry.  A failure of the propulsion system doesn't explain the lack of telemetry or having attitude control.  A partial failure of power where there isn't enough power (or a fuse has tripped on one power bus) for the telemetry system but is enough for solar inertial might.  Just not sure how realistic a partial failure is.

Really before worrying about how to command the spacecraft, maybe the first step those who would like to play armchair-spacecraft operator should consider is why isn't there any telemetry?  That should be first on this list.  If you can't solve that problem, then commanding a burn is out of reach.

Just thought I'd add to the speculation...

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/17/2011 07:56 pm
Anyone know the expected life of the drop tank?

The drop tank was only designed for short term no?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/17/2011 08:17 pm
I don't know if this has been copied here already, but:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html

On the night from November 15 to November 16, a ground station in Ussuriisk in the Russian Far East made a desperate and, apparently, completely hopeless attempt to communicate with the spacecraft, as if it had been in the Earth escape trajectory following a nominal burn of the MDU propulsion unit. Unnamed officials reportedly insisted on this "communication session," after reading on the Internet that some observers in Brazil had seen what looked like a firing of the probe's main engine. Obviously, nothing came out of this effort, except for more comments on the web about gross incompetence of the mission management.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/17/2011 08:25 pm
Still no ground-enabled command or control.

...

I find it strange that Fobos-Grunt is supposedly in a safe mode, which has locked it into solar inertial.  Yet, there is no telemetry. 
Really before worrying about how to command the spacecraft, maybe the first step those who would like to play armchair-spacecraft operator should consider is why isn't there any telemetry?  That should be first on this list.  If you can't solve that problem, then commanding a burn is out of reach.

Just thought I'd add to the speculation...

Andy

One really needs to understand the subsystem interfaces to interpret those observations and intelligently speculate about the spacecraft failure mode.

---  CHAS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Danderman on 11/17/2011 08:35 pm
I don't know of a "safe mode" that precludes communications. This seems more like "dead mode".
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/17/2011 09:07 pm
I find it strange that Fobos-Grunt is supposedly in a safe mode, which has locked it into solar inertial. 

Could you explain the solar inertial bit? (I've gotten to the end of what I understand about spacecraft operations.)

It occurred to me that the results that Ted Molczan came up with --

Quote
It is evident that in addition to drag, some unknown force raised the perigee at the rate of +0.633 km/d, but lowered
the apogee at nearly the identical rate.

 -- has a fairly simple possible explanation. That is, there's a force, maybe a gas leak, acting on PG that has its direction more or less fixed in inertial space and has a component that acts in the direction of the spacecraft's velocity at apogee and against it at perigee:


Apogee
---> Force
-----------> Velocity

Perigee
---> Force
<----------- Velocity
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/17/2011 09:15 pm
I find it strange that Fobos-Grunt is supposedly in a safe mode, which has locked it into solar inertial. 

Could you explain the solar inertial bit?

Always pointing at the sun
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/17/2011 09:15 pm
Solar inertial - pointed at the Sun (or through the Earth when the Sun is behind the Earth).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: John Duncan on 11/17/2011 10:06 pm
Perhaps the computer is in an endless loop, waiting for the results of the first burn?  Who knows but it is a sad thing.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rweede on 11/17/2011 10:21 pm

It occurred to me that the results that Ted Molczan came up with --

Quote
It is evident that in addition to drag, some unknown force raised the perigee at the rate of +0.633 km/d, but lowered
the apogee at nearly the identical rate.

 -- has a fairly simple possible explanation. That is, there's a force, maybe a gas leak, acting on PG that has its direction more or less fixed in inertial space and has a component that acts in the direction of the spacecraft's velocity at apogee and against it at perigee:


The velocity vectors at perigee and apogee are at right angles to each other, so the force would have to act in different directions.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/17/2011 10:25 pm
Solar inertial - pointed at the Sun (or through the Earth when the Sun is behind the Earth).

OK, so is the idea that, for short times, the sun stays in about the same direction from earth in inertial space, pointing at the sun gives a temporary (to within a degree per day) inertial equivalent? (Leaves aside rotation around the earth-sun axis.)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/17/2011 10:25 pm
Some more information on the background of Phobos Grunt: http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_origin.html#yh1
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/17/2011 10:30 pm
Solar inertial - pointed at the Sun (or through the Earth when the Sun is behind the Earth).

OK, so is the idea that, for short times, the sun stays in about the same direction from earth in inertial space, pointing at the sun gives a temporary (to within a degree per day) inertial equivalent? (Leaves aside rotation around the earth-sun axis.)

Dont understand your question.  The vehicle is always point at the sun no matter where it is as it orbits earth
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: zorg2 on 11/17/2011 11:30 pm
There was quite shocking information from the insiders on NK forum: The X-band communication station PA was seriosly underpowered : instead of 30000W klystron they purchased  the second-hand 750W travelling wave tube, which could hardly provide the acceptable bandwidth on Mars orbit.
If true, it means, they didn't believe in success of the mission from the beginning.

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru%2FphpBB2%2Fviewtopic.php%3Ft%3D10631%26postdays%3D0%26postorder%3Dasc%26start%3D7780 (http://2F%2Fwww.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru%2FphpBB2%2Fviewtopic.php%3Ft%3D10631%26postdays%3D0%26postorder%3Dasc%26start%3D7780)
Quote
I want to throw in my 5 cents to the topic. Только что общался с руководством фирмы занимавшейся поставкой УМ X-band для антенн в Медвежьих Озерах и Уссурийске по программе ФГ. Just talked to the leadership of the firm engaged in supplying the PA X-band antenna at Bear Lakes and Ussuriisk Program FY.
Изначально планировалось поставить 30кВт клистронный УМ. It was originally planned to put 30kW klystron PA. Но когда дошло до дела, оказалось что в предназначенном для УМ помещении сгнил пол и под тяжелым УМ с водяным охлаждением он просто рухнет. But when it came down to it, was that the room designated for the PA and rotted floor under heavy UM cooled it just collapses.
Выход был найден парадоксальный, 30кВт клистрон не ставить, а ограничиться second hand TWTA 750 Вт производства Xicom. The solution was found, paradoxical 30kW klystron is not set, and to limit second hand TWTA output 750W Xicom.
Стоить ли говорить что этой мощности явно недостаточно чтобы обеспечить надежный аплинк с аппаратом на марсианской орбите. Worth to say that this power is not enough to provide reliable uplink with the device on the Martian orbit.
Если это правда, то аппарат был заранее и сознательно списан в утиль If this is true, then the device was deliberately written off in advance and the scrap 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/17/2011 11:42 pm
The link does not work for me...

Also, do you speak ruissian because that google chicken scratch might mean that it's output is limited to 750W and not it is a 750W... It is that bad.

Try this link for the post: http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=10631&start=7780

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/17/2011 11:49 pm
Quote from: rweede link=topic=27289.msg830589#msg830589
The velocity vectors at perigee and apogee are at right angles to each other, so the force would have to act in different directions.
Simply not true. Velocity vectors at perogee and apogee are in fact parallel.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/17/2011 11:58 pm
The vehicle is always point at the sun no matter where it is as it orbits earth

Yes. And the sun, for short periods of time, is always at about the same direction in inertial space relative to the earth.  Think of the right ascension and declination of the sun as seen from earth for short times.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/18/2011 12:42 am
Perhaps the computer is in an endless loop, waiting for the results of the first burn?  Who knows but it is a sad thing.



A few people mentioned this idea in the previous thread.  I would be surprised (maybe even shocked) if this occurred with a modern real-time operating system.  Basically the operating system runs the tasks (including the tasks needed for a burn).  It does this by allocating time by priority (asynchronous) or by time slices (synchronous).  But the 'let's do a burn' program is never in charge of the processor, the operating system is.

So, let's say the burn was hung waiting.  Then the other tasks the operating system has scheduled would continue to function.  So, if telemetry was a running program, that program would continue to run as long as it had a high enough priority in an asynchronous scheme.  In a synchronous scheme, time would be allocated to running that process based on how it was scheduled.

So, most modern real time systems will protect themselves from an application program that gets into an infinite loop.  Even Windows XP and 7 do that and they aren't real time operating systems by any stretch of the imagination.

So, I doubt the infinite loop theory but I can't say for sure since I don't know what Fobos-Grunt used for an O/S (or computer).

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bernse on 11/18/2011 02:09 am
I don't know if this has been copied here already, but:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html

On the night from November 15 to November 16, a ground station in Ussuriisk in the Russian Far East made a desperate and, apparently, completely hopeless attempt to communicate with the spacecraft, as if it had been in the Earth escape trajectory following a nominal burn of the MDU propulsion unit. Unnamed officials reportedly insisted on this "communication session," after reading on the Internet that some observers in Brazil had seen what looked like a firing of the probe's main engine. Obviously, nothing came out of this effort, except for more comments on the web about gross incompetence of the mission management.
That is one of the more bizarre things I've read in a while. I don't know what's weirder, this or the conspiracy theory from earlier that the probe MUST BE ABLE to communicate because it has so many radios.

This whole thing is just so sad.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/18/2011 02:14 am
Anatoly Zak has posted an update here http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_scenario.html which I believe covers in human translated English much of the same information found in the NK posts I linked earlier.

According to this information, PG should have been transmitting telemetry periodically (40 minutes every 2 hours) if it was in proper safe mode, and of course should also respond directly if asked.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: just-nick on 11/18/2011 03:32 am
Perhaps the computer is in an endless loop, waiting for the results of the first burn?  Who knows but it is a sad thing.

So, I doubt the infinite loop theory but I can't say for sure since I don't know what Fobos-Grunt used for an O/S (or computer).

I agree it may not be the most likely, but I don't think we can exclude some sort of loop, even if it isn't the prime mover in this failure. It needn't be a loop in the "10 PRINT "HELLO" 20 GOTO 10" mold, it could be a more complex behavior emerging from otherwise well intentioned code. What follows is rampant speculation and imagination:

Suppose PG initiates its TMI burn not based on time but on inertial position. As it nears that position, some element of the RTOS (or whatever is running the show, perhaps a single monolithic program) says "time to call the pre-TMI routine" and starts settling burns, pressurization sequences, etc. Then at some subsequent time (perhaps based on time, position, or other factors) the "TMI burn routine" is called. It identifies a problem, aborts itself, and hands control back over to the executive (or whatever).

If nothing comes along and pulls the pre-TMI routine or whatever its trigger is out of the queue, then that routine cane fire up again and repeat this process in an other orbit or whatever.

Again, this is pure speculation, a cheerful work of science fiction if you like, but somewhat informed by lots of reading of various spaceflight computer systems and a bit of mucking around with control routines for a positron collider back in my youth.  There is pretty good documentation on the AGC and the Centaur's guidance computer on NTRS if you want to read about the development of these systems...just fascinating stuff.

Anyway, my point is that well intentioned code run by a competent executive can still produce complex failures, fail to clean up after itself, etc. particularly if it is (A) cobbled together and (B) poorly tested.

Cheers,

  --N
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/18/2011 03:44 am
Anatoly Zak has posted an update here http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_scenario.html which I believe covers in human translated English much of the same information found in the NK posts I linked earlier.

According to this information, PG should have been transmitting telemetry periodically (40 minutes every 2 hours) if it was in proper safe mode, and of course should also respond directly if asked.


It also gives a nice answer about what happens when it enters the earths shadow. It was actually programmed to handle that event and keeps the bead accurate by use of the gyroscope. A separate system that appears to be working. I was wondering about that one... and it would explain why it can keep from tumbling while ignoring the ground!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/18/2011 04:01 am
The big question I have after reading the latest Zak article is what happens after 8 days?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 11/18/2011 05:40 am
Comga contacted me by email and helped to explain what is happening.

I'm working this out by myself for the first time so of course I may have missed out something. Thinking about it some more, Comga is absolutely right. We wait until the orbital plane of PG precesses such that the orbit relative to the ecliptic is in the right position (looking at the Earth with the Sun to the left and Earth in front, that is in the same direction as Earth's rotation around the Sun, PG's orbital plane needs to be edge on). When PG reaches this, it fires its engine to send it on a hyperbolic trajectory. The asymptotic trajectory will then be parallel to the Earth velocity vector.

So this means we only need to wait 30 days for the next firing opportunity. Actually, if the 6° per day is relative to the stars and as we want PG in the right plane relative to the Sun, this means the sun-relative precession is 6+360/365.25 = 7° per day. This means we need to wait 180°/7 = 25.7 days, which would be around 4 December.

Attached is diagram showing what is happening. I've shown Earth as if it was in the middle of northern hemisphere Winter, which is not correct and so the angles of the PG planes will be different to that shown, but the conclusion is still the same. That is, the inclination of PG's plane (as long as its edge on) does not affect the exit velocity, which remains the same. This also means that PG does have a TMI opportunity around 4 December.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: sdsds on 11/18/2011 08:44 am

I stared at your drawing and pondered what you wrote.  The tersest way I can express the conclusion is, "We wait for times when the Earth's velocity vector is coplanar with the spacecraft's orbit."  That condition will be met every ~180 degrees of precession, rather than every ~360 degrees, so another departure opportunity will occur in ~30 days.

It's true this won't matter if they can't uplink commands to the spacecraft.  But if this second departure opportunity is real, it might explain why mission controllers didn't immediately request communications assistance from e.g. DSN.  They have some time yet to establish contact using their own X-band antennae, perhaps after increasing their slew rates to enable tracking of F-G in LEO.

I doubt the claims that they have X-band transmitters that are too powerful, or not powerful enough.  If its antenna could slew fast enough, wouldn't a ground station that works for Spektr-R work for F-G as well?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/18/2011 12:16 pm
The latest from Ria Novasti: Phobos Grunt could be sent into lunar orbit if communications are restored, and if Phobos Grunt reenters all the pieces would disintegrate. 

Google translated: http://tinyurl.com/bql688g
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rweede on 11/18/2011 12:27 pm
Quote from: rweede link=topic=27289.msg830589#msg830589
The velocity vectors at perigee and apogee are at right angles to each other, so the force would have to act in different directions.
Simply not true. Velocity vectors at perogee and apogee are in fact parallel.

Ouch. You are right, of course. Must have had a right angle in my spatial thinking circuits ...  :-[
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/18/2011 03:19 pm
The latest from Ria Novasti: Phobos Grunt could be sent into lunar orbit if communications are restored, and if Phobos Grunt reenters all the pieces would disintegrate. 

Google translated: http://tinyurl.com/bql688g

I suppose they can spin it declaring scientific innovation (that's a political word now) saving the mission.

What would that really accomplish?  Can it actually land on the moon?  Can the sample returner escape moon gravity?  Is there a camera available to take a look around?  Might the Chinese satellite be placed in lunar orbit?

These machines are designed for a specific mission.  If there is some flexibility, maybe the moon is marginality better than zero return.

---  CHAS

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/18/2011 05:26 pm
So you would have as much chance as the President of the United States and the four Beatles performing the rescue mission themselves as you would being able to launch this so-called rescue mission during the current launch window.


I know enough math to see that there's something fishy about your answer:  You have overestimated the number of available Beatles by an order of magnitude assuming the use of base two.  Ahem.

But I did totally forget that the Hubble rescue for example, was a carefully planned mission, not a dash.   So thanks for taking the time to answer.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/18/2011 08:57 pm
The latest from Ria Novasti: Phobos Grunt could be sent into lunar orbit if communications are restored, and if Phobos Grunt reenters all the pieces would disintegrate. 

Google translated: http://tinyurl.com/bql688g

The link didn't work for me.

Pasting this URI into Google translate should consistently work:
http://ria.ru/science/20111118/491923608.html

Or this might work as a direct link:
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fria.ru%2Fscience%2F20111118%2F491923608.html

The lunar orbit suggestion is apparently from a Russian space journalist. It sounds like educated speculation.

However, I take that to mean not including landing on the moon. Almost certainly it does not have enough thrust to do that, or fuel in the lander alone.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 11/18/2011 09:02 pm
I agree it may not be the most likely, but I don't think we can exclude some sort of loop, even if it isn't the prime mover in this failure. It needn't be a loop in the "10 PRINT "HELLO" 20 GOTO 10" mold, it could be a more complex behavior emerging from otherwise well intentioned code. What follows is rampant speculation and imagination:
{snip}

The loop is more likely to be

5000 WAIT 0.1 * SECONDS
5010    GET #SUN_SENSOR LOCATION
5020    IF LOCATION = NO_RESPONSE THEN GOTO 5000

Although probably written in C, ADA or FORTRAN.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/19/2011 05:11 am
Regarding the possibility of debris survival to Earth's surface, I remind readers of Paul Maley's overview of the subject here:
http://www.eclipsetours.com/sat/debris.html

As Paul writes, it's rare but does happen -- and propellant tanks are among the most common elements that are found.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 11/19/2011 08:15 am
Regarding the possibility of debris survival to Earth's surface, I remind readers of Paul Maley's overview of the subject here:
http://www.eclipsetours.com/sat/debris.html

As Paul writes, it's rare but does happen -- and propellant tanks are among the most common elements that are found.

Very interesting article. Hmmm, plenty of spheres on Phobos-Grunt!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/19/2011 12:12 pm
Second stage of Zenit rocket to fall into the Pacific on November 22nd according to Ria Novosti (Google  translated).

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fria.ru%2F&act=url
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/19/2011 12:30 pm
I agree it may not be the most likely, but I don't think we can exclude some sort of loop, even if it isn't the prime mover in this failure. It needn't be a loop in the "10 PRINT "HELLO" 20 GOTO 10" mold, it could be a more complex behavior emerging from otherwise well intentioned code. What follows is rampant speculation and imagination:
{snip}

The loop is more likely to be

5000 WAIT 0.1 * SECONDS
5010    GET #SUN_SENSOR LOCATION
5020    IF LOCATION = NO_RESPONSE THEN GOTO 5000

Although probably written in C, ADA or FORTRAN.

Or it might have been coded correctly.  We have no data to suggest either way and no reasonable basis for what you are suggesting.  Also what you are suggesting is something any realtime operating system would not allow to occur and turn into a system hang-up.  We also still have no data to suggest a software problem occurred with more data leaning towards a hardware issue (remember the attitude control software is apparently still working).

Also I'll remind you that no real programmer uses Goto statements anymore except for assembler language programming and then for branches to labels (never numbers).  Goto statements cause programs to fail and haven't been used for professional programming since the early 1970s.

So, while it may be "fun" to speculate that they couldn't program any better than an average six year old, there is no basis for it and someone reading this is going to believe that there is data to support what you wrote when there is none.


Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nittany Lion on 11/19/2011 01:00 pm
Comga contacted me by email and helped to explain what is happening.

I'm working this out by myself for the first time so of course I may have missed out something. Thinking about it some more, Comga is absolutely right. We wait until the orbital plane of PG precesses such that the orbit relative to the ecliptic is in the right position (looking at the Earth with the Sun to the left and Earth in front, that is in the same direction as Earth's rotation around the Sun, PG's orbital plane needs to be edge on). When PG reaches this, it fires its engine to send it on a hyperbolic trajectory. The asymptotic trajectory will then be parallel to the Earth velocity vector.

So this means we only need to wait 30 days for the next firing opportunity. Actually, if the 6° per day is relative to the stars and as we want PG in the right plane relative to the Sun, this means the sun-relative precession is 6+360/365.25 = 7° per day. This means we need to wait 180°/7 = 25.7 days, which would be around 4 December.

Attached is diagram showing what is happening. I've shown Earth as if it was in the middle of northern hemisphere Winter, which is not correct and so the angles of the PG planes will be different to that shown, but the conclusion is still the same. That is, the inclination of PG's plane (as long as its edge on) does not affect the exit velocity, which remains the same. This also means that PG does have a TMI opportunity around 4 December.

According to your diagram, on or about November 21st Phobos-Grunt will be in a polar orbit. We know that’s not true, so the diagram does not capture the actual situation.

The inclination (the angle between the equator and the plane of the PG orbit) doesn’t change. The orientation of the plane of the PG orbit in inertial space is changing.

I believe what you need is a diagram viewed from above the sun. Earth and Mars are moving counterclockwise and the plane of the PG orbit is rotating clockwise. When will the plane of the PG orbit again be tangent to the Earth’s orbit?

I think the seven degrees per day is correct, so December 4th looks about right.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/19/2011 03:49 pm

More analysis from Ted Molczan:

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0214.html

Quote
The unusual evolution of the orbit of Fobos-Grunt (11065A / 37872) continued through 2011 Nov 18 UTC.

[snip]

A second process (besides drag), is causing F-G's orbit to become more circular, manifested by apogee decreasing and perigee increasing at the same rate (after accounting for drag). A side-effect of this is about a 30 percent increase in the rate of precession of the argument of perigee. The net contraction of the orbit is at about half the rate expected given the object's dimensions and mass. Therefore, it appears that an in-plane force is raising the orbit, and shifting the argument of perigee, negating about half the effect of drag.

[snip]

He's also done considerable work to check the methodology used to get these results.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 11/19/2011 04:07 pm
I agree it may not be the most likely, but I don't think we can exclude some sort of loop, even if it isn't the prime mover in this failure. It needn't be a loop in the "10 PRINT "HELLO" 20 GOTO 10" mold, it could be a more complex behavior emerging from otherwise well intentioned code. What follows is rampant speculation and imagination:
{snip}

The loop is more likely to be

5000 WAIT 0.1 * SECONDS
5010    GET #SUN_SENSOR LOCATION
5020    IF LOCATION = NO_RESPONSE THEN GOTO 5000

Although probably written in C, ADA or FORTRAN.

Or it might have been coded correctly.  We have no data to suggest either way and no reasonable basis for what you are suggesting.


 Also what you are suggesting is something any realtime operating system would not allow to occur and turn into a system hang-up. 

If you believe that you obviously do not know much about real time operating systems.  The WAIT will be implemented by a call into the operating system that causes the process to be rescheduled and the watch dog timer reset.  This is the classic way of writing a deliberate infinity loop.

Quote
We also still have no data to suggest a software problem occurred with more data leaning towards a hardware issue (remember the attitude control software is apparently still working).

Also I'll remind you that no real programmer uses Goto statements anymore except for assembler language programming and then for branches to labels (never numbers).  Goto statements cause programs to fail and haven't been used for professional programming since the early 1970s.

BASIC still uses GOTOs.

We had a little training exercise for new programmers - write a structured program only using GOTOs.  It stopped them from talking a lot of nonsense.  Then if they write WHILE (I == I) {}; they know what they are saying.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/19/2011 04:13 pm
I agree it may not be the most likely, but I don't think we can exclude some sort of loop, even if it isn't the prime mover in this failure. It needn't be a loop in the "10 PRINT "HELLO" 20 GOTO 10" mold, it could be a more complex behavior emerging from otherwise well intentioned code. What follows is rampant speculation and imagination:
{snip}

The loop is more likely to be

5000 WAIT 0.1 * SECONDS
5010    GET #SUN_SENSOR LOCATION
5020    IF LOCATION = NO_RESPONSE THEN GOTO 5000

Although probably written in C, ADA or FORTRAN.

Or it might have been coded correctly.  We have no data to suggest either way and no reasonable basis for what you are suggesting.


 Also what you are suggesting is something any realtime operating system would not allow to occur and turn into a system hang-up. 

If you believe that you obviously do not know much about real time operating systems.  The WAIT will be implemented by a call into the operating system that causes the process to be rescheduled and the watch dog timer reset.  This is the classic way of writing a deliberate infinity loop.

Quote
We also still have no data to suggest a software problem occurred with more data leaning towards a hardware issue (remember the attitude control software is apparently still working).

Also I'll remind you that no real programmer uses Goto statements anymore except for assembler language programming and then for branches to labels (never numbers).  Goto statements cause programs to fail and haven't been used for professional programming since the early 1970s.

BASIC still uses GOTOs.

We had a little training exercise for new programmers - write a structured program only using GOTOs.  It stopped them from talking a lot of nonsense.  Then if they write WHILE (I == I) {}; they know what they are saying.

And so...getting back to the point of all this...what evidence do you have this is the scenario on Phobos-Grunt?

And, yes, BASIC has GOTOs.  Do you know of any critical real-time systems implemented with BASIC?  I don't know of any.  Maybe you could enlighten me.  It would have to be a compiled BASIC system since no one would use an interpretted BASIC scheme for a critical real time systems.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Oberon_Command on 11/19/2011 04:14 pm
BASIC still uses GOTOs.

People still use unstructured BASIC in 2011? Really?

Without knowing anything about Fobos-Grunt's avionics, if the software is multithreaded then there's always the possibility of a race condition occurring. Maybe the thread that handles propulsion system burns is running just a little bit faster than the thread that checks to see if it's time to fire the engines, resulting in the probe knowing that it's time to fire but this not being communicated in time to the engines, resulting in the software aborting the burn. Of course, this only makes sense IMO if the "mission planner" thread isn't allowed to preempt/interrupt the "propulsion system" thread, as would be the case in a cooperative multithreading system.

Total speculation, of course. :D
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 11/19/2011 04:32 pm

More analysis from Ted Molczan:

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0214.html

Quote
The unusual evolution of the orbit of Fobos-Grunt (11065A / 37872) continued through 2011 Nov 18 UTC.

[snip]

A second process (besides drag), is causing F-G's orbit to become more circular, manifested by apogee decreasing and perigee increasing at the same rate (after accounting for drag). A side-effect of this is about a 30 percent increase in the rate of precession of the argument of perigee. The net contraction of the orbit is at about half the rate expected given the object's dimensions and mass. Therefore, it appears that an in-plane force is raising the orbit, and shifting the argument of perigee, negating about half the effect of drag.

[snip]

He's also done considerable work to check the methodology used to get these results.

Assuming the sc is sun-oriented, it seems plausible to me that some form of thrust from a constant direction could be simultaneously raising the perigee and lowering the apogee. I think somebody suggested this already in this thread a few pages back.
Imagine that the force is from a tank venting at the 'back' of the sc. At one point in the orbit, this will be accelerating the sc; at the opposite end it will be deccelerating it. If the thrust is constant, there will be other effects, of course, as the force moves from being tangential towards being perpendicular.

But if it is a constant source, from a venting tank, how long can it continue for?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/19/2011 04:35 pm
But if it is a constant source, from a venting tank, how long can it continue for?

Probably until it enters the atmosphere.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: just-nick on 11/19/2011 04:36 pm
Also what you are suggesting is something any realtime operating system would not allow to occur and turn into a system hang-up.  We also still have no data to suggest a software problem occurred with more data leaning towards a hardware issue (remember the attitude control software is apparently still working).
I'll agree that a functioning RTOS shouldn't allow a single routine to grab the entire system and hang everything up (a-la the "Hey, Outlook hung my PC situation that I deal with a couple times a week at work"), thereby preventing an other routine from executing.

But that doesn't mean that you can't have software issues, perhaps even issues that involve an interaction between different software modules or between software modules and the RTOS (if that is even how PG's systems are architected). Or that such an interaction might not be contributing to the overall problem, even if it isn't the "prime mover" that started the whole thing off.

We don't know, we'll probably never know. Heck, I don't think we even know what sort of computer/OS is running this stack. So this IS total speculation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/19/2011 04:39 pm
BASIC still uses GOTOs.

People still use unstructured BASIC in 2011? Really?

Without knowing anything about Fobos-Grunt's avionics, if the software is multithreaded then there's always the possibility of a race condition occurring. Maybe the thread that handles propulsion system burns is running just a little bit faster than the thread that checks to see if it's time to fire the engines, resulting in the probe knowing that it's time to fire but this not being communicated in time to the engines, resulting in the software aborting the burn. Of course, this only makes sense IMO if the "mission planner" thread isn't allowed to preempt/interrupt the "propulsion system" thread, as would be the case in a cooperative multithreading system.


...and that makes sense to me.  That's the way I would expect a modern O/S to work.

I still get back to the attitude control system apparently working which implies (no facts, of course) that the processor is still able to schedule tasks and execute them.  I'm assuming it's the same processor that would schedule the burn and also perform attitude control, which may not (or may) be the case.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/19/2011 04:49 pm
But if it is a constant source, from a venting tank, how long can it continue for?

Ted's looking into just that thing -- see the "Next Steps" section in the SeeSat-L message in the previous posting.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/19/2011 08:01 pm
So why is venting occurring?  Is some kind of pressure relief mechanism commonly designed into the tanks or pressure vessels?  Or did something occur to cause a leak?

---  CHAS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/19/2011 08:15 pm
So why is venting occurring?  Is some kind of pressure relief mechanism commonly designed into the tanks or pressure vessels?  Or did something occur to cause a leak?
---  CHAS

Nobody seems to know. It might also be that the apparent force causing the orbital behavior is not due to a leak but to slightly uncompensated firing of attitude thrusters. Or something else. (Somehow this reminds me of the "Pioneer Anomaly.")  ;)

I attach a plot of the mean altitude generated from the latest Space Track orbital elements.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/19/2011 08:49 pm
So why is venting occurring?  Is some kind of pressure relief mechanism commonly designed into the tanks or pressure vessels?  Or did something occur to cause a leak?

---  CHAS

Can I remind everyone that Jim Oberg had a good explanation several posts back that centered around cross-coupling. No mysterious venting or leak needed...

100 Fire thruster to keep sun lock
200 goto to higher Perigee
300 wait until the sun moves again

;)

Let me add my 2 kopecks to the mystery of the orbit rise and its hypothetical connection with attitude control firings.


The effect that is being postulated was called 'cross-coupling' in the MCC when I worked there, and reflects the fact that small thrusters which are dedicated to specific translational or rotational modes are rarely 'pure' in their force. Along with major intended contribution to specific roll/pitch/yaw and X/Y/Z translation, they induce forces in other modes as well, sometimes minor, but not always so.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/19/2011 11:54 pm
Attached is diagram showing what is happening.

According to your diagram, on or about November 21st Phobos-Grunt will be in a polar orbit. We know that’s not true, so the diagram does not capture the actual situation.

I don't think you're envisioning following the evolution of the orbit correctly. You seem to be envisioning the next step in the precession to be like the first image I'm attaching. That's not a precession, but a plane change.

It's closer to the second attached image. As viewed from the original perspective, the next orbit appears slightly oblate, progressively more so until it has fully cycled past appearing circular towards oblate in the direction of the 180 degree plane.

Kind of like, although for different reasons, the way the orbits of Saturn's ring particles appear at different angles and obliqueness as it moves around the sun:

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0909/6yearsofsaturn_friedman.jpg

Unfortunately, it's not quite obvious diagramming it from above either (actually along the earth's axis, rather than over the sun), although I think that is a slightly easier way to view it.

I apologize - I realized after I created the images I reversed the dates. The principle holds, but in the opposite direction.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: sdsds on 11/20/2011 12:25 am
As viewed from the original perspective, the next orbit appears slightly oblate, progressively more so until it has fully cycled past appearing circular towards oblate in the direction of the 180 degree plane.

Yes, I think this is almost correct, and certainly better than thinking the orbital plane of the satellite always appears "edge on" from this perspective!  Your additional images are really helpful in clarifying this.

My only minor nit to pick:  from the point of view of these diagrams, the orbit never appears fully circular.  When it is maximally oblate, the vector normal to the plane of the orbit still isn't pointing in the direction of the Earth's motion around the Sun.  (It is, if you will, pointing someplace directly "over our head" or "under our feet.")  Only if that normal vector were pointing directly at us or directly away from us would a circular orbit actually appear circular.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/20/2011 12:34 am
A reminder to everyone to stay on topic. This is about the spacecraft and the efforts to save it. Nothing else, such as personal preference of programming lanuages.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/20/2011 02:08 am
As viewed from the original perspective, the next orbit appears slightly oblate, progressively more so until it has fully cycled past appearing circular towards oblate in the direction of the 180 degree plane.

Yes, I think this is almost correct, and certainly better than thinking the orbital plane of the satellite always appears "edge on" from this perspective!  Your additional images are really helpful in clarifying this.

My only minor nit to pick:  from the point of view of these diagrams, the orbit never appears fully circular.  When it is maximally oblate, the vector normal to the plane of the orbit still isn't pointing in the direction of the Earth's motion around the Sun.  (It is, if you will, pointing someplace directly "over our head" or "under our feet.")  Only if that normal vector were pointing directly at us or directly away from us would a circular orbit actually appear circular.

I agree. Good correction.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/20/2011 09:22 pm
The latest just posted at Ria Novosti:  http://tinyurl.com/73aqhxy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/20/2011 10:35 pm
Another one from the Voice of Russia: http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/11/21/60731935.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 11/21/2011 06:43 am
Thanks Michael J. According to Ria Novosti, the launch window closes today on 21 November and if the orbital precession of the orbit for alignment is after this date (I calculated 4 December, but Molzan has said that the rate of precession is increasing which would move the date up), then there's nothing that can be done to get to Mars now. The only chance is to get in contact, fix the problem and then move PG into another orbit so that it can have another chance in two years time.

What I don't understand is that the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) launch window is from 25 November to 18 December which is after the end of the window according to Ria Novosti.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: input~2 on 11/21/2011 07:12 am
Last chance to send Russian Mars moon probe expires Monday (http://en.ria.ru/science/20111121/168876438.html) [today]
(article includes quotes from Liss)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: joncz on 11/21/2011 11:24 am
What I don't understand is that the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) launch window is from 25 November to 18 December which is after the end of the window according to Ria Novosti.

Launch site inclination.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/21/2011 12:11 pm
It looks like the Roscosmos is resigned to Phobos Grunt reentering, and Vladimir Popovkin said that while the engines may survive, the hydrazine will not: http://bit.ly/vzJuoV.

And the story continues to evolve.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/21/2011 12:37 pm
It looks like the Roscosmos is resigned to Phobos Grunt reentering, and Vladimir Popovkin said that while the engines may survive, the hydrazine will not: http://bit.ly/vzJuoV.

And the story continues to evolve.

I think that the hope is that the heat of re-entry will cause the propellant to explode.  However, if the tanks retain integrity (and the Russians do like building stuff tough), you get several 'bombs' full of pressurised, boiling hydrazine dropping on a random part of the globe.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/21/2011 01:37 pm
Question, these tanks, are they Stainless, Al, of Ti? Certain materials survive reentry better than others.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JRThro on 11/21/2011 02:21 pm
The velocity vectors at perigee and apogee are at right angles to each other, so the force would have to act in different directions.

No, since perigee and apogee are on opposite sides of the Earth from each other, the velocity vectors at those two points are at 180 degrees from each other.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/21/2011 04:05 pm
Question, these tanks, are they Stainless, Al, of Ti? Certain materials survive reentry better than others.

They seem to be Al, though the information is a little ambiguous.

http://www.arianespace.com/launch-services-soyuz/Soyuz_Users_Manual_CSG_June06.pdf
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: arkaska on 11/21/2011 04:43 pm
What's the possibility that they will shoot down it before re-entry as the US did?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/21/2011 04:49 pm
What's the possibility that they will shoot down it before re-entry as the US did?

It depends on several things: 1) That the Russian Fedeation has an operable ABM/ABL/ASAT system and 2) the risks to a friendly civilian population is high enough to risk the exposure of a likely-classified weapon whose existance would also be politically awkward to admit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rdale on 11/21/2011 05:02 pm
Shorter answer - close enough to zero that it's not worth it...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/21/2011 06:20 pm
What's the possibility that they will shoot down it before re-entry as the US did?

I covered that question as well as some legal issues in this article: http://thespacereview.com/article/1968/1.

Apologies for the multiple self-plugs in this thread.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/21/2011 07:10 pm
I think that the hope is that the heat of re-entry will cause the propellant to explode.  However, if the tanks retain integrity (and the Russians do like building stuff tough), you get several 'bombs' full of pressurised, boiling hydrazine dropping on a random part of the globe.

Since tank valves usually are in piping external to the tanks, as the vehicle is torn apart by entry deceleration forces [15 to 20 Gs], the tank contents will have access to space. As the exterior heats, the internal fluids will carry off the skin heat by boiling, bubbles rapidly 'rising' to the back of the tank, and expelling prop [in liquid or gas form] out the broken lines. This will usually induce tank rotation, which will then distribute the external heat load over a wider region of the external skin, delaying tank skin physical failure.

You also have to realize that in a high-G entry environment the entering object very rapidly drops below the max heating regime -- MUCH more quickly than human-carrying vehicles that have to stretch out the heating regime to keep from crushing their contents.

In a 20-G profile you are braking at 200 meters/per second per second, enough to drop your 8000 meters/second orbital speed by 3/4 in about 30 seconds [along a track about 150 km long]. That's a SEVERE 30 seconds and most structures and contents probably WILL tear apart and disperse, but experience has shown that a lot of them do NOT, and spacecraft propellant tanks in particular are fairly common 'finds' across the face of the Earth.

So you are correct to say this is the policy of 'hope', and trusting in the odds -- but considering the cost of coming up wrong, it's not a bet anyone should be satisfied in choosing, if there's any other chouice.

If the Russians were so darned sure that everything would always burn up completely and safely, why not deorbit their end-of-life spacecraft over Russian territory? They don't make a habit of that because they DO know the odds.

Although --  they DO routinely deorbit Soyuz 'service modules' along with the crew descent modules aimed at Kazakhstan, and I've never seen any report of tanks surviving from THOSE vehicles. Nor would I expect to see them, even if they are found from time to time.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/21/2011 07:12 pm
Very fine report:

What would Mars probe failure mean for Russian space?
21 November 2011 Last updated at 07:38 ET
By Anatoly Zak Editor, www.RussianSpaceWeb.com

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15767184
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Blackstar on 11/21/2011 07:12 pm
Anatoly Zak has another great article on what the Russians might do next with their planetary program:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15767184

What would Mars probe failure mean for Russian space?
By Anatoly Zak
 
Editor, www.RussianSpaceWeb.com

Designed to bring samples of ancient soil from the mysterious Martian moon Phobos, the spacecraft got stuck in low-Earth orbit immediately after its launch on 9 November.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/21/2011 07:16 pm
Some interesting Moscow press stories today:
"Фобос-Грунт" еще может совершить "хитрый" рывок к Марсу
21.11.2011, 14:54 // Обновлено в 16.10  мск//   http://rus.ruvr.ru/2011/11/21/60761891.html

Хроники потерянного "Фобоса"
21 ноября 2011 года 14:02     http://www.interfax.ru/politics/txt.asp?id=217725

Окно на Марс то приподзакроется, то приподоткроется
18:12 21/11/2011  //  http://www.ria.ru/analytics/20111121/494279290.html
Константин Богданов, военный обозреватель РИА Новости.



Two images of young operators in the Phobos-Grunt
Mission Contol Center:
   photo-control center  76k  --   http://rus.ruvr.ru/data/2011/11/21/1242113521/4o_565445.jpg
   tass 23k photo  --     http://www.interfax.ru/ftproot/textphotos/2011/11/21/fobo.jpg






Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/21/2011 08:24 pm

Although --  they DO routinely deorbit Soyuz 'service modules' along with the crew descent modules aimed at Kazakhstan, and I've never seen any report of tanks surviving from THOSE vehicles. Nor would I expect to see them, even if they are found from time to time.


Two points

1. Does not the capsule generate some life and land further down range than the debris?
2. The Soyuz service module tanks should be empty, or close to empty when reentry occurs.

Also, where not most of the tanks you linked earlier made of Titanium and not AL? That is why I asked what they are made of.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/21/2011 10:22 pm
Some interesting Moscow press stories today:
"Фобос-Грунт" еще может совершить "хитрый" рывок к Марсу
21.11.2011, 14:54 // Обновлено в 16.10  мск//   http://rus.ruvr.ru/2011/11/21/60761891.html

Хроники потерянного "Фобоса"
21 ноября 2011 года 14:02     http://www.interfax.ru/politics/txt.asp?id=217725

Окно на Марс то приподзакроется, то приподоткроется
18:12 21/11/2011  //  http://www.ria.ru/analytics/20111121/494279290.html
Константин Богданов, военный обозреватель РИА Новости.



Two images of young operators in the Phobos-Grunt
Mission Contol Center:
   photo-control center  76k  --   http://rus.ruvr.ru/data/2011/11/21/1242113521/4o_565445.jpg
   tass 23k photo  --     http://www.interfax.ru/ftproot/textphotos/2011/11/21/fobo.jpg








Google translate worked well with the first reference.  Not as well with the second (but still understandable).

What I take away from the first article is that the window to Mars with a landing on Phobos has already closed.  If they just want to go to Mars, using all the prop available (giving up a Phobos landing), then that window is still open.

In any event failure is not an option in this case, because if a failure is declared then all work on contacting the PG spacecraft will cease.  The only possibility of knowing the cause of the problem(s) is to contact PG.  So, no one is going to officially say the mission is over even though it is.

Attitude continues to be stable and some gain in orbital altitude continues to be noted.  The other interesting tidbit was that no telemetry was ever received from the PG spacecraft, according to the article (rather emphatically). 

So, if there is a dead telemetry system onboard that explains everything but the lack of a burn.  Was a command from the ground needed to initiate the burn (I thought Anatoly Zak had a previous article that said the first burn was completely autonomous)?  What's common between no burn and a dead transmitter but still allows the rest of the spacecraft to function?

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: just-nick on 11/21/2011 11:24 pm
As this thing looks to be winding down (until entry gets more imminent), I really want to thank Jim O and a few other folks on this thread for taking the time to turn it into an orbital dynamics 101 course.  I'm going to be digesting what you wrote for a long time...

--NIck
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/22/2011 12:23 am
As this thing looks to be winding down (until entry gets more imminent), I really want to thank Jim O and a few other folks on this thread for taking the time to turn it into an orbital dynamics 101 course.  I'm going to be digesting what you wrote for a long time...

--NIck

Glad you found the stuff useful.

Meanwhile, the treat for me, was interplanetary launch planar management 101. I'm still digesting == heck, I'm still CHEWING --
that stuff...

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Khadgars on 11/22/2011 12:50 am
Very fine report:

What would Mars probe failure mean for Russian space?
21 November 2011 Last updated at 07:38 ET
By Anatoly Zak Editor, www.RussianSpaceWeb.com

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15767184


interesting read.  What do you guys think lies ahead for Russian Space?  I think the obvious answer would be to join up with the NASA/ESA on the Exo Mars program but you never know. 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/22/2011 01:22 am
What I don't understand is that the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) launch window is from 25 November to 18 December which is after the end of the window according to Ria Novosti.

Launch site inclination.

I suppose the different trajectories are also relevant.

Fobos-Grunt is flying an 11 month trajectory culminating in entering orbit.

MSL is flying something like an 8 or 9 month trajectory, culminating in a direct entry.

I don't know enough to explain the reasons for the those differences, so that would be an appreciated point for anyone who may be more knowledgeable to expand upon.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/22/2011 01:34 am
Quote from: Khadgars link=topic=27289.msg831795#msg831795
What do you guys think lies ahead for Russian Space?
They should start with an independent commission to analyze past failures and offer concrete recommendations, sort of like NASA did when it had its own failures. And the commission should work in open and their findings should be freely available. But knowing how Russian operate nothing of the sort will happen, perhaps there will be some personnel changes, that's all. And there is going to be your typical drifting, indecision and more failed missions.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/22/2011 03:25 am
What I don't understand is that the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) launch window is from 25 November to 18 December which is after the end of the window according to Ria Novosti.

Launch site inclination.

I suppose the different trajectories are also relevant.

Fobos-Grunt is flying an 11 month trajectory culminating in entering orbit.

MSL is flying something like an 8 or 9 month trajectory, culminating in a direct entry.

I don't know enough to explain the reasons for the those differences, so that would be an appreciated point for anyone who may be more knowledgeable to expand upon.

Type 1 vs Type 2 trajectories.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Blackstar on 11/22/2011 03:50 am
interesting read.  What do you guys think lies ahead for Russian Space?  I think the obvious answer would be to join up with the NASA/ESA on the Exo Mars program but you never know. 

There's a fundamental problem with hooking up with ESA on the 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter mission--the article mentions that Russia would like to contribute a lander, but ESA also wants to provide a lander. You really cannot do both.

The ESA lander was going to be primarily an engineering demonstration. For a decade now ESA has had Mars envy. They're really been jealous of NASA's rovers and wanted to be able to do their own. So they planned to do a reentry test and then follow it with the ExoMars rover. That didn't make a lot of sense when you thought about it, because ESA would be spending a lot of money to develop capabilities that NASA had already spent a lot of money to develop. But national pride--or in this case, European pride--can sometimes trump common sense.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/22/2011 05:37 am
Tuesday morning press comment in Moscow: Vitaliy Davydov admits no good news.


Роскосмос: окно для вывода "Фобос-Грунта" к Марсу закроется до декабря
10:00 22/11/2011
http://www.ria.ru/science/20111122/494710351.html


Роскосмос: Шансов реализовать миссию «Фобоса» нет
22 ноября 2011, 10:03  //  http://vz.ru/news/2011/11/22/540517.html


Окончательно с «Фобос-Грунтом» попрощаются в январе
Ксения Бабич //  #195, 22 Ноября 2011г.
http://www.trud.ru/article/22-11-2011/269872_okonchatelno_s_fobos-gruntom_poproschajutsja_v_janvare.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/22/2011 12:44 pm

It seems the orbital antics of PG are puzzling Roscosmos as well.


http://en.rian.ru/science/20111122/168929059.html
Russian experts baffled by probe’s erratic behavior
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/22/2011 02:28 pm
Another ESA tweet:

Quote
@esaoperations
ESA Operations

After request by Russian colleagues, ESA team to make final effort overnight to contact #phobosgrunt using #ESTRACK stations #esoc
56 minutes ago via TweetDeck
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/22/2011 06:17 pm
If anyone wants to observe PG, there are some opportunities for US west coast in the next few days. I caught it last night using the predictions from http://www.satflare.com/track.php?q=phobos#MAP

Fast, seemed like brightness might have been varying but a bit hard to tell, conditions were poor. Brightened dramatically after zenith.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/22/2011 09:01 pm
Any news on the Phobos-Grunt Zenit second stage entry?

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: input~2 on 11/22/2011 09:22 pm
Any news on the Phobos-Grunt Zenit second stage entry?

According to a "final" USSTRATCOM report published to-day at 19:08 UTC, the second stage re-entered to-day at 18:44UTC +/- 1 minute over 14°S, 133°E (Northern Australia)
Direction: descending,  orbit inclined 51.4°, after 222 revolutions.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/22/2011 09:38 pm
Where are all the satellite servicing and refuelling providers when you need them ? MDA (http://www.spacenews.com/contracts/110111-mda-puts-satellite-servicing-hold-reports-core-businesses-doing-well.html)?

Interesting that due to its mysteriously rising orbit it will not reenter until March now.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Thomas ESA on 11/23/2011 06:40 am
BREAKTHROUGH. WE HAVE COMM!!!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 06:43 am
Wow!

Breaking: ESA's ESTRACK station in Perth, Australia, receives signal from Russia's Phobos-Grunt. @ESA
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Thomas ESA on 11/23/2011 06:45 am
Breaking news in ESA web shortly http://www.esa.int

I'm waiting too, I don't have details.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 06:47 am
>ESA tracking station receives signal from Russia's Phobos Mars mission
23-11-2011

 On Tuesday, 22 November at 20:25 UT, ESA's tracking station at Perth, Australia, established contact with Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft. This was the first signal received on Earth since the Mars mission was launched on 8 November. ESA teams are working closely with engineers in Russia to determine how best to maintain communications with the spacecraft. More news will follow later.<
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: sdsds on 11/23/2011 06:50 am
Google translate (http://bit.ly/s8ZL4R) says:

23/11/2011 11:31

MOSCOW, November 23 - RIA Novosti. European tracking stations first came in contact with the Russian station "Phobos-Grunt" , stuck in low Earth orbit, told RIA Novosti the head of the European Space Agency in Russia Rene Pishel.

"While we can say that one of the stations went on the link. But this is the beginning of the process, telemetry has not been obtained, and we work closely with our Russian colleagues," - said Pishel.

On Tuesday, managing directors of ESA reported that on Wednesday night European stations in South America, Australia and the Canary Islands, will make a final attempt to communicate with the station.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 06:53 am
Real eleventh hour stuff! Let's hope for a happy ending!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Khadgars on 11/23/2011 06:55 am
Real eleventh hour stuff! Let's hope for a happy ending!

Wow, crazy! 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/23/2011 07:11 am
Real eleventh hour stuff! Let's hope for a happy ending!

Given the Mars transfer window, this is more like a thirteenth hour hail Mary pass....  ;)

Re-match in 2013, anyone? (assume that the referee is not extending the stoppage time....)  ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/23/2011 07:30 am
From the information at NK, it seems that the telemetry downlink wasn't established yet. It's just that the ground station at Perth issued commands to P-G and it beeped. Regardless, given that the spacecraft hasn't responded since orbit 1, this is definitely good news! I wonder what has happened since then? (the contact was 12 hours ago)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: MATTBLAK on 11/23/2011 07:34 am
Bit of a layman's question, I know: but say they regained control of the spacecraft AFTER the Mars window closed - could it be sent to a Near(ish) Earth Asteroid and return samples from there? I'm aware that it might be sheer luck if any fitted the delta-vee requirements.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/23/2011 07:43 am
Bit of a layman's question, I know: but say they regained control of the spacecraft AFTER the Mars window closed - could it be sent to a Near(ish) Earth Asteroid and return samples from there? I'm aware that it might be sheer luck if any fitted the delta-vee requirements.

I believe some (Russian?) experts said something about that, but I would have thought boosting it to a storage HEO and wait for the next Mars transfer window in 2013 would be a better option... (fuel storage / engines shouldn't be an issue, as it was designed to make burns more than a year after launch in Mars orbit)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/23/2011 07:45 am
I guess a high Earth parking orbit or a resonant solar orbit getting back to Earth in time for the next launch window would be the best choice. At least F-G would perform the mission for which it was designed.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: MATTBLAK on 11/23/2011 07:47 am
Thanks guys! Interesting answers.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/23/2011 07:50 am
OK guys this is what we have from Ria Novosti:

The signal has been received during one of a total of four attempts to reach the probe. The signal was received when Phobos-Grunt was illuminated by the Sun.

This evening European and Russian specialists will continue working so they can establish a reliable communication with the spacecraft.

Roscosmos was also fast to officially confirm the good news:

http://roscosmos.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=18319

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/23/2011 08:04 am
Very exciting news. Of course getting a signal is a long way from regaining control and resolving whatever triggered the problem in the first place. Hoping for the best!

I believe some (Russian?) experts said something about that, but I would have thought boosting it to a storage HEO and wait for the next Mars transfer window in 2013 would be a better option...
Another potential option would be to go the long way around, like Nozomi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nozomi_%28spacecraft%29). An advantage of this over sitting in Earth orbit is that you can recover a substantial amount of dV from earth flyby(s).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: DavisSTS on 11/23/2011 08:34 am
Great! So what happens next?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: tonyq on 11/23/2011 08:34 am
BBC Report

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15850516
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: uko on 11/23/2011 08:42 am
Wow.. really great news!
Interesting that it happened exactly after the current Mars window shuld have closed (that is according to most news reports).

Exciting times!!!

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/23/2011 09:06 am
Not to be a wet blanked here, but let's put this in context:

1) The Mars window is closed so, unless the probe can survive in a high orbit until the next window opens, the mission is already a failure (irrespective of alternate missions that may be created);

2) The probe has only responded with a 'bleep'.  A computer with a crashed hard-drive will do that too but it can't do anything useful.  Let's wait until regular uplink/downlink and is established and useful data is transferred before cheering;

3) This very limited signal was received only on one out of four comm attempts - This may imply changing antenna positioning (axial roll) or possibly issues with the probe's hardware

4) The fact that the probe only responded whilst on Earth's dayside may indicate problems with the battery charger system.

I don't want to be overly negative but I hope this gives some indication of the challenges facing the team right now.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/23/2011 10:27 am
Not throw an even wetter blanket on HEO storage, but that mean storing it in the Van Allen belts for several years. Not a healthy place. Also, while the probe is designed to spend years in space, the drop tank is not. They need to use it or risk complications.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/23/2011 10:33 am
Not throw an even wetter blanket on HEO storage, but that mean storing it in the Van Allen belts for several years. Not a healthy place. Also, while the probe is designed to spend years in space, the drop tank is not. They need to use it or risk complications.

Well, you can't reach a higher Earth orbit without making a burn and disposing the drop tank.... (the tank was designed to separate after the first burn to something like a ~4000 X 20000 km X 48 deg. orbit)  ;)

As for the radiation problem.... how about storing it in GEO?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/23/2011 10:37 am
Hmm... how can you make a spacecraft to go into safe mode while in darkness and go out of it while in sunlight? (http://ria.ru/science/20111123/495893243.html)  :P
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Cbased on 11/23/2011 10:45 am

2) The probe has only responded with a 'bleep'.  A computer with a crashed hard-drive will do that too but it can't do anything useful.  Let's wait until regular uplink/downlink and is established and useful data is transferred before cheering;
No, it's better than that. The ground station in Perth sent the command to turn the transmitter on and received a signal straight away (just a carrier frequency). The station was not ready to receive real telemetry. They used a direct action command (bypassing the main computer/control unit). But the fact that the spacecraft reacted to this command is very good news.

Quote
3) This very limited signal was received only on one out of four comm attempts - This may imply changing antenna positioning (axial roll) or possibly issues with the probe's hardware
... or that the orbital position of the spacecraft was not known well enough.

Quote
4) The fact that the probe only responded whilst on Earth's dayside may indicate problems with the battery charger system.
Correct. The batteries were not designed to last that long.
So the spacecraft can only operate on the day side (getting power from solar panels)

Quote
I don't want to be overly negative but I hope this gives some indication of the challenges facing the team right now.
Let's call it - cautious optimism ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/23/2011 10:45 am
http://ria.ru/science/20111123/495893243.html

Russian Phobos-Grunt is in safe mode...

A source from the aerospace industry explains that P-G is possibly in safe mode and it always turns off each time when it goes into shadow of Earth.

The unnamed person also thinks why it was impossible to contact P-G with Russian space antennas - the spacecraft is above then only when it's in the shadow of Earth.

But the European station in Pert has contacted P-G when the spacecraft was in the sunny side of the Earth. It's the only period when there's electricity on board.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Cbased on 11/23/2011 11:00 am
Apparently (according to NK forum and ESA) there will be 5 attempts to establish communications tomorrow (Moscow time):
00:25, 01:57, 03:32, 08:16, 09:49.

The station in Perth has got commands "turn transmitter on" and "turn telemetry on".

Hoping for the best - fingers crossed.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/23/2011 11:10 am
I've been around RF signals too long NOT to worry the simple tonal signal
might turn out to be spurious. Was the antenna tracking the source across the sky? Was any doppler observed? That would make me feel a lot less worried.

But the report that the tone appeared right after the on command, and the explanation for other failures to receive tone [shadowing after batteries have failed], does provide a warm fuzzy feeling.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/23/2011 11:40 am
Well, you can't reach a higher Earth orbit without making a burn and disposing the drop tank....

Theoretically at least WSB orbits and lunar flybys could put F-G in a very high orbit at the expense of relatively little fuel. The same process in reverse could be used in 26 months to send the unlucky probe to Mars. Think of Hiten, Nozomi, Artemis and GRAIL
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: notsorandom on 11/23/2011 12:25 pm
Wow! Hats off those in Perth. They did an impressive job of aiming their antennas. There was speculation that the drop tank was covering the low gain antenna making communications impossible. The DSN has a facility at Canberra which is on the other side of the continent. Are there any assets there that can help?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: cneth on 11/23/2011 01:12 pm
Well, this is quite exciting.

But this sudden safe mode 'discovery' is very puzzling.   Surely the folks doing the troubleshooting should have known of this 'only listening when insolated' mode, after all, they designed it, right?   

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: demorcef on 11/23/2011 01:43 pm
This is fantastic news. Now we need some more good luck and maybe life can be restored to our little probe.

Выздоравливайте скорее !
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: apollolanding on 11/23/2011 01:53 pm
Congrats to the ESA engineers for getting their antenna to track and communicate with F-G.  For the sake of science (and all who worked on the mission) I hope some sort of productive communication can be established, a diagnosis is obtained and a fix can be worked up... a lot of ifs and a long shot to be sure but the ingenuity of aerospace engineers never ceases to amaze me so here's hoping some kind of science mission can be salvaged.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/23/2011 02:17 pm
more details emerge
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM4NEZW5VG_index_0.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: aquanaut99 on 11/23/2011 02:19 pm
Even assuming they can regain control of the probe, what options do they have, other than implementing a controlled crash back to Earth to prevent a later uncontrolled re-entry?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: mr. mark on 11/23/2011 02:25 pm
Can they put the probe into a safe holding orbit for a 2013 burn to Mars?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/23/2011 02:26 pm
This post on Universe Today (http://www.universetoday.com/91239/contact-established-with-phobos-grunt-spacecraft-can-the-mission-go-on/) seems to clear up the mess on the Mars transfer window. Apparently the November 21st date refers to the last day that allows Phobos-Grunt's return capsule to return to Earth during the 2013-2014 window, and the actual window of reaching Mars/Phobos in 2012 is actually a bit longer, lasting until mid-December for P-G.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/23/2011 02:28 pm
funny... the Lavochkin website has just published the first update on F-G in two weeks ending the Soviet era-like silence...
http://www.laspace.ru/rus/news.php#403
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/23/2011 02:30 pm
Quote
Data received from Phobos-Grunt were then transmitted from Perth to Russian mission controllers via ESA's Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany, for analysis.
So there is hope that there is more than just carrier frequency obtained ?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/23/2011 02:39 pm
more details emerge
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM4NEZW5VG_index_0.html

Additional communication slots are available on 23 November at 20:21–20:28 GMT and 21:53–22:03 GMT.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/23/2011 02:42 pm
This post on Universe Today (http://www.universetoday.com/91239/contact-established-with-phobos-grunt-spacecraft-can-the-mission-go-on/) seems to clear up the mess on the Mars transfer window. Apparently the November 21st date refers to the last day that allows Phobos-Grunt's return capsule to return to Earth during the 2013-2014 window, and the actual window of reaching Mars/Phobos in 2012 is actually a bit longer, lasting until mid-December for P-G.

I would caution about trusting the interpretation in that article. Since the lander has to wait over at Mars for more than a year, there is no problem making the return leg even if the arrival leg is delayed significantly. Trans-Earth insertion is decoupled from Mars arrival date.

What a delayed arrival MAY do is raise the required delta-V for Mars orbit insertion. It certainly also raises the required delta-V at Earth departure.



Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 11/23/2011 03:07 pm
Congrats to the ESA engineers for getting their antenna to track and communicate with F-G. 

Totally agree. They deserve a huge amount of credit for trying stuff out to see what works (especially the additional feedhorn as indicated in the ESA report)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/23/2011 03:11 pm
As Jim said, the basic concept is that given enough propellant you can launch any time.  As the launch window gets less optimal you use more propellant. 

If you have a fixed amount of propellant like PG, the first thing that goes away is having enough propellant to land on Phobos.  The next thing that goes away is having enough proellant to get to a low Mars orbit.  Then the next thing that goes away is Martian orbit (you flyby instead).  Eventually you cannot raise your solar orbit enough to get to Mars. And, so on, and so on.

Because of this you can have different answers to when does the Mars window close.  The real question should be when does the window that allows for a full mission close?  I believe that has already happened, based on previous reports.

So now we have no burn and a telemetry system that needed to be turned on at an optimal power time (see ESA article).  It will be interesting to hear if the telemetry system is still transmitting the next time they try to contact the PG spacecraft or if there is a power issue.

Remember that the cause of the original problem (no burn) still has to be assessed and corrected (if possible) for any of this to matter for this spacecraft.  Also remember that the Mars/Earth alignment in 2013 is different than the alignment in 2011 (I don't know which is more optimal).

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/23/2011 03:16 pm
I've been around RF signals too long NOT to worry the simple tonal signal
might turn out to be spurious. Was the antenna tracking the source across the sky? Was any doppler observed? That would make me feel a lot less worried.

But the report that the tone appeared right after the on command, and the explanation for other failures to receive tone [shadowing after batteries have failed], does provide a warm fuzzy feeling.


doesn't this show that the batteries are not charging? 

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 03:23 pm
Right then, so the general opinion is - providing this breakthrough leads to a command ability, and real soon - the mission is still possible?

Lots of ifs, but I want to establish the possibility still exists?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: notsorandom on 11/23/2011 03:43 pm
What about Deimos? My assumption being that Deimos is not as far into the Martian gravity well and has less gravity to deal with when landing or taking off. I was doing some back of the envelope calculations about re-targeting to Deimos instead of Phobos and it looks like it would save a couple hundred m/s of delta V. However my knowledge of orbital mechanics is basic at best. Is this a possibility?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: zeke01 on 11/23/2011 03:45 pm
I've been around RF signals too long NOT to worry the simple tonal signal
might turn out to be spurious. Was the antenna tracking the source across the sky? Was any doppler observed? That would make me feel a lot less worried.

But the report that the tone appeared right after the on command, and the explanation for other failures to receive tone [shadowing after batteries have failed], does provide a warm fuzzy feeling.


doesn't this show that the batteries are not charging? 


Yes.  I was thinking that too.  If the batteries can't be recharged, does this doom the mission since the same situation would arise at Mars?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/23/2011 03:46 pm
Also remember that the Mars/Earth alignment in 2013 is different than the alignment in 2011 (I don't know which is more optimal).

Mars launch window have a 16-year cycle. The 2003 window was an optimal, minimum energy one, so I guess 2011 is a maximum energy one. 2013 should be slightly better.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: imcub on 11/23/2011 03:57 pm
I've been around RF signals too long NOT to worry the simple tonal signal
might turn out to be spurious. Was the antenna tracking the source across the sky? Was any doppler observed? That would make me feel a lot less worried.

But the report that the tone appeared right after the on command, and the explanation for other failures to receive tone [shadowing after batteries have failed], does provide a warm fuzzy feeling.


doesn't this show that the batteries are not charging? 



Maybe the batteries fine and they are not receiving enough charge to power the spacecraft while shaded.  Maybe the solar panels have not deployed and are only providing a small portion of the planned charge when in full sunshine.  Sunlight it wakes up, shade it powers down ...

Anyone know if how much of the solar panels are exposed when in the stowed position?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/23/2011 03:59 pm
Right then, so the general opinion is - providing this breakthrough leads to a command ability, and real soon - the mission is still possible?

Lots of ifs, but I want to establish the possibility still exists?

Possibility of a "mission" - sure.  Possibility of the original mission - I don't think so.  My biggest concern is that if there is a power problem onboard and that is why the burn didn't occur (and the telemetry has been off), then you can't have a "mission" until that siutation is solved/bypassed.

I don't know enough to say whether that is possible or not.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 05:19 pm
Right then, so the general opinion is - providing this breakthrough leads to a command ability, and real soon - the mission is still possible?

Lots of ifs, but I want to establish the possibility still exists?

Possibility of a "mission" - sure.  Possibility of the original mission - I don't think so.  My biggest concern is that if there is a power problem onboard and that is why the burn didn't occur (and the telemetry has been off), then you can't have a "mission" until that siutation is solved/bypassed.

I don't know enough to say whether that is possible or not.

Andy

Thanks. That's what I think we all want to hear about.

No point rewritting the ESA release - prefer the news articles here to add something new (especially when we've got this update thread) - so we'll wait for that update.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: lbiderman on 11/23/2011 06:22 pm
The ESA press release does not stablish that ESA will be modifying their systems to transmit commands to the spacecraft, right? Anatoly Zak mentions that, and I was wondering if there is any "news" that confirm that, or that is just a rumour (or inside sources).
Besides this, kudos for the ESA team!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sesquipedalian on 11/23/2011 06:50 pm
I suppose the different trajectories are also relevant.

Fobos-Grunt is flying an 11 month trajectory culminating in entering orbit.

MSL is flying something like an 8 or 9 month trajectory, culminating in a direct entry.

I don't know enough to explain the reasons for the those differences, so that would be an appreciated point for anyone who may be more knowledgeable to expand upon.

Type 1 vs Type 2 trajectories.

Can someone elaborate on this answer?  Jim's post is no more meaningful to me than if he had said "Number 1 vs Number 2 trajectories."
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JWag on 11/23/2011 06:52 pm
Can someone elaborate on this answer?  Jim's post is no more meaningful to me than if he had said "Number 1 vs Number 2 trajectories."

First hit on Google with "mars type 1 2 trajectories":
http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/basics/bsf4-1.php
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/23/2011 07:02 pm
So they have finally heard some babble from the probe.  Now they need to collect useful data and determine the nature of the problem.

If the rocket motor is broken then 'Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200'

If the software is broken, they need to reprogram something .. at least new ephemeris so the probe knows where it is and receives its new marching orders.

So that means, new code or commands must be generated and uplinked.  Then some kind of verification of receipt must be received.  All of this has to happen a piece at a time when the probe overflies Perth. 

Perhaps they can accomplish this over the course of a few passes and get on with an abridged mission.  But until there's a report of intelligent two way communication,  I'm not optimistic about salvaging anything.

---  CHAS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/23/2011 07:14 pm
Keep in mind that they are getting 6 minutes of downlink (at most) when the pass over Perth Austrailia.  So, let's see on a good day that would be three orbits ascending and three orbits descending.  So 6 orbits with 6 minutes (at most) each means they will get at most 36 minutes of data a day.

Now, if the spacecraft is shutting itself down when it goes into shadow (as the AP reported), that means some of that up to 36 minutes is spent waiting for the spacecraft to restart and then sending it the please start telemetry command.  It also may be Groundhog Day on the spacecraft everytime it wakes up.

I'm guessing it's maintaining attitude only when enough sunlight reaches the spacecraft.  That would means during each orbit, there would be long periods of drift, followed by sudden corrections when it wakes up, then attitude hold, followed by long periods of drift as the Sun sets.

Now somewhere in the available time, you want them to reprogram the spacecraft?  (and remember I gave them more time than they would likely get on an average orbit).  I think their first priority (at least it would be mine) would be to determine the cause of the power loss and correct for that so the spacecraft wouldn't be shutting down once an orbit.

Of course, this might explain one thing - the first burn was supposed to be over the night time part of the orbit, wasn't it?  I'll go out on a limb and predict that a spacecraft with no power can't initiate a burn.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/23/2011 07:20 pm
Just a little reminder... six minutes remain until first attempt to contact the probe for tonight - 20:25 GMT
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/23/2011 07:57 pm
People on NOVOSTI-Kosmonavtiki forum got embarrased by a message : "There's downlink, there's a TMI". It's most probably a joke, however.

EDIT : The author of this rumor says it's not a joke : The source of information comes from Europe. There's a set of data that implies TMI, he says...

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/23/2011 08:14 pm
People on NOVOSTI-Kosmonavtiki forum got embarrased by a message : "There's downlink, there's a TMI". It's most probably a joke, however.

EDIT : The author of this rumor says it's not a joke : The source of information comes from Europe. There's a set of data that implies TMI, he says...


Ria Science just Tweeted that telemetry was received, but there is no link to the story.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/23/2011 08:17 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111124/496387514.html

IT's NOT a JOKE!!! There's telemetry received!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/23/2011 08:19 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111124/496387514.html
Quote
RIA News. European tracking station in Australia received telemetry from Russian Fobos-Grunt station, which was not communicated for last two weeks, told RIA a person from European Space Agency in Moscow, Rene Pishel.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 08:24 pm
Fingers crossed that they can get a full set and save (part of) the mission! Meanwhile, thanks to all involved on here, NK and of course the ESA people.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/23/2011 08:25 pm
The Novosti report is time-stamped 01:04 on the 24th -- 21:04 gmt today. About twenty minutes ago.

It quotes Pichel [my translation]: "AGAIN we succeeded in entering into communication with Phobos-Grunt, they received telemetric data, and their colleagues at NPO Lavochkin are analyzing it."
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/23/2011 08:26 pm
Everybody on NK seems to apologize to the person who gave us the information that TMI has been received. The person was not joking - and we are happy.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/23/2011 08:30 pm
Everybody on NK seems to apologize to the person who gave us the information that TMI has been received. The person was not joking - and we are happy.

TMI?  That's trans-Mars-injection, to some people, including the acronym list.  What do you mean?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 08:30 pm
TMI?  That's trans-Mars-injection, to some people, including the acronym list.  What do you mean?
Telemetry. It's confusing, made the same mistake myself.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/23/2011 08:31 pm
well this story just got a whole lot more interesting.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: asdert on 11/23/2011 08:34 pm
TMI?  That's trans-Mars-injection, to some people, including the acronym list.  What do you mean?
Telemetry. It's confusing, made the same mistake myself.

Thanks for the clarification. I was just browsing the past few pages to look for an explanation.

And thanks, Svetolslav for the real-time translation from NOVOSTI-Kosmonavtiki forum, RIA Novosti and other Russian sites.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Liss on 11/23/2011 08:38 pm
Short format of telemetry asked and received from the Cruise Mudule X-band system. Next try will probably involve full TM from the BKU main computer.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/23/2011 08:39 pm
According to a tweet from Russian Space Web, normal power and radio operations have been confirmed.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/23/2011 08:39 pm
TM = telemetry

TMI = trans Mars insertion [rocket burn]

Easy to confuse!!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/23/2011 08:41 pm
TM = telemetry

TMI = trans Mars insertion [rocket burn]

Easy to confuse!!

Especially for a Mars probe.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 08:46 pm
This is getting very interesting now! I really hope they can salvage some sort of a mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/23/2011 08:48 pm
Chris, I think it's time for a new article :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JWag on 11/23/2011 08:50 pm
Tomorrow, it is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.  I, for one, will be thankful for these new Fobos-Grunt developments.   ;D
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/23/2011 08:51 pm
Phobos-Grunt turns out NOT to be a space turkey, after all!!

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 08:55 pm
Chris, I think it's time for a new article :)

I agree! ;D I was writing about SLS, but this is time sensitive and we need to have something to drive people into this update thread....speaking of which, I'm sure we all appreciate your help on the Russian translation side, our Russian friends who I see are posting aswell, the esteemed Jim Oberg and everyone else.

I'll write a short article as a driver, which I can update as a standalone summary overview as we hear more.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/23/2011 08:57 pm
TM = telemetry

TMI = trans Mars insertion [rocket burn]

Easy to confuse!!
To add to the confusion, the posters on NK forum appear to abbreviate telemetry "ТМИ" which google translate renders as "TMI"
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/23/2011 08:58 pm
According to a tweet from Russian Space Web, normal power and radio operations have been confirmed.

I have to discount this one ......."normal power" that can't be right.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/23/2011 08:58 pm
Second communication slot has started five minutes ago.
(21:53–22:03 GMT)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: lbiderman on 11/23/2011 08:58 pm
It seems that after all today was not a good day to die. Waiting for more telemetry! How many comm sessions remaining today? Also, wandering why only Perth can reach the spacecraft...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/23/2011 09:00 pm
Second communication slot has started five minutes ago.
(21:53–22:03 GMT)

ahhhh that makes this exciting as I can see her on the map near Auz in sunshine.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 09:02 pm
Also, wandering why only Perth can reach the spacecraft...
Only Perth has an 'upgraded' (adapted) antenna right now, in the area that sees daylight passes.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/23/2011 09:05 pm
Second communication slot is finished (21:53–22:03 GMT)

And now, we have to wait ...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: lbiderman on 11/23/2011 09:06 pm
Also, wandering why only Perth can reach the spacecraft...
Only Perth has an 'upgraded' (adapted) antenna right now, in the area that sees daylight passes.

Alright, I get that, but what I was referring to is the aparent inability of Baikonur to communicate with the spacecraft. Mainly, if it is a power problem (batteries) or a station config issue
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/23/2011 09:07 pm
Also, wandering why only Perth can reach the spacecraft...
Only Perth has an 'upgraded' (adapted) antenna right now, in the area that sees daylight passes.

You have any links to info on this.........Perth is now in the spotlight and sure Chris could use the info for his article.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/23/2011 09:09 pm
I have difficulties to access Novosti-Kosmonavtiki. Reminds me of the first hours after launch of Phobos-Grunt... Too much traffic... If we lose Novosti-Kosmonavtiki for this evening, we lose the best news source.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 09:11 pm
You have any links to info on this.........Perth is now in the spotlight and sure Chris could use the info for his article.
No primary sources, but it was mentioned in the link to the RIA article. Of course you'll also have seen the mention of an extra 'horn' on the 15-m dish in Perth, through which a lower-strength signal was sent. This was to prevent overwhelming the receiver, which would be tuned to longer-distance communications.

Edit: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM4NEZW5VG_index_0.html - official source
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/23/2011 09:13 pm
Alright, I get that, but what I was referring to is the aparent inability of Baikonur to communicate with the spacecraft. Mainly, if it is a power problem (batteries) or a station config issue
I think this is unknown, but telemetry should help clear it up.

According to earlier reports, the Baikonur stations would have had difficulties tracking PG in the current orbit, so failing to make contact doesn't necessarily mean PG was incapable of communicating in those passes. http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_kik.html discusses some of this.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: asdert on 11/23/2011 09:20 pm
Also, wandering why only Perth can reach the spacecraft...

Besides adapting the antenna, you maybe need some more RF equipment. Amplifiers of the right frequency range, duplexer, transmitter and receiver... And then there is modulation and coding. I don't know whether there are established standards in satellite communication, or whether each agency may transmit its own type of signal.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/23/2011 09:23 pm
It seems that after all today was not a good day to die. Waiting for more telemetry! How many comm sessions remaining today? Also, wandering why only Perth can reach the spacecraft...

Maspalomas Station (Canary Islands) probably will be the second station tracking Phobos-Grunt.

http://www.spacenews.com/civil/111123-esa-establishes-contact-with-phobos-grunt-spacecraft.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 09:24 pm
Besides adapting the antenna, you maybe need some more RF equipment. Amplifiers of the right frequency range, duplexer, transmitter and receiver... And then there is modulation and coding. I don't know whether there are established standards in satellite communication, or whether each agency may transmit its own type of signal.
The ITU has dedicated a portion of the X-band range to satellite communications only.
From reading loads over these past few days, I think Perth's higher slew rate also helped, but can't provide a link right now.

Edit: And Kourou is also an option, I've noticed. But Perth is almost all there is in the Southern hemisphere.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/23/2011 09:28 pm
It seems that after all today was not a good day to die. Waiting for more telemetry! How many comm sessions remaining today? Also, wandering why only Perth can reach the spacecraft...

Maspalomas Station (Canary Islands) probably will be the second station tracking Phobos-Grunt.

http://www.spacenews.com/civil/111123-esa-establishes-contact-with-phobos-grunt-spacecraft.html

Maspalomas Station

http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Operations/SEMWPDSMTWE_0.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/23/2011 09:31 pm
According to a tweet from Russian Space Web, normal power and radio operations have been confirmed.

I have to discount this one ......."normal power" that can't be right.




That's what he tweeted.  He didn't provide a link.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/23/2011 09:44 pm
Quote
According to a tweet from Russian Space Web, normal power and radio operations have been confirmed.
I have to discount this one ......."normal power" that can't be right.
That's what he tweeted.  He didn't provide a link.

it's says only about of "normal power" for X-band radioset, when TM frame was received. Not about "normal power" status of all FG. Radio set have own "emergency TM frame".
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: PeterAlt on 11/23/2011 09:57 pm
Why has P-G missed its window and MSL's window is still open? Same neighborhood.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/23/2011 09:59 pm
Why has P-G missed its window and MSL's window is still open? Same neighborhood.

Different trajectory.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Cbased on 11/23/2011 10:01 pm
TM = telemetry

TMI = trans Mars insertion [rocket burn]

Easy to confuse!!
To add to the confusion, the posters on NK forum appear to abbreviate telemetry "ТМИ" which google translate renders as "TMI"

"ТМИ" in Russian is "ТелеМетрическая Информация" i.e. TeleMetry Information  (I deliberately made a capital "M"  in both cases)

P.S. So happy! Thank you ESA, thank you Perth!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/23/2011 10:04 pm
Yes thank you Perth.....next fly by in about half hour or so.


Edit :   aprox 23:17 in the sun.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: PeterAlt on 11/23/2011 10:05 pm
Can they adjust P-G's tragectory to be more inline with MSL? Could they spend some of that extra fuel to get it back on course? Too bad it can't berth with MSL and hitch a ride!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: e of pi on 11/23/2011 10:12 pm
Thank you, ESA and Perth! However...is there some reason this wasn't tried sooner? Was the orbit not right for contact from Perth, or is that Russia only finally asked?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/23/2011 10:16 pm
Thank you, ESA and Perth! However...is there some reason this wasn't tried sooner? Was the orbit not right for contact from Perth, or is that Russia only finally asked?

Maybe it was not configured correctly and time had to be spent setting it up. They did make some antenna mods to pull this off.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 11/23/2011 10:26 pm
Can they adjust P-G's tragectory to be more inline with MSL? Could they spend some of that extra fuel to get it back on course? Too bad it can't berth with MSL and hitch a ride!

This is discussed a couple of pages back. MSL is on a direct entry trajectory so can afford to arrive a bit faster. If PG flew the same trajectory it wouldn't have enough propellant to brake into orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: PeterAlt on 11/23/2011 10:33 pm
Thanks. I just read that page. I like that Deimos idea that was suggested. No one answered if it is possible....
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 10:33 pm
BBC's Jonathan Amos wrote "Phobos-Grunt still has a short window in which to start its journey before a change in the alignment of the planets makes the distance to the Red Planet too big to cross."

Is he wrong?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 10:41 pm
BBC's Jonathan Amos wrote "Phobos-Grunt still has a short window in which to start its journey before a change in the alignment of the planets makes the distance to the Red Planet too big to cross."

Is he wrong?
That seems to be a possibility when you move the planning of the sample return to the right. So, launch now, sample return in 2016. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong there.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/23/2011 10:45 pm
BBC's Jonathan Amos wrote "Phobos-Grunt still has a short window in which to start its journey before a change in the alignment of the planets makes the distance to the Red Planet too big to cross."

Is he wrong?
Like everything else about this mission, there's a lot of contradictory statements floating around, including "official" statements. IIRC Popovkin said they could still make it in early December. Others suggested that orbital precession ruled out a successful mission long before the end of the nominal window.

David Warmflash (PI for the LIFE experiment) suggests that the return trajectory dictated the window http://www.universetoday.com/91239/contact-established-with-phobos-grunt-spacecraft-can-the-mission-go-on/ This seems odd, given the duration of the nominal Phobos stay, but I doubt he's just making it up. Maybe there's knock-on effects on how long it takes to match Phobos orbit (pure speculation on my part) ?

Clearly, the Russians picked their nominal window for a reason. It's also safe to assume that nominal window preserved some margin, so stretching it may be possible.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nickolai on 11/23/2011 10:46 pm
Not to stifle discussions of alternative missions, but let's all keep in mind that the health of the spacecraft has not been fully ascertained. It's quite possible the main engine is not working, so any potential trip to Mars or Phobos or Deimos or wherever would be out of the question.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/23/2011 10:48 pm
Can someone elaborate on this answer?  Jim's post is no more meaningful to me than if he had said "Number 1 vs Number 2 trajectories."

First hit on Google with "mars type 1 2 trajectories":
http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/basics/bsf4-1.php

The two short sentences about it on that page are only minimally enlightening, although I have found a little more, including some discussion in the context of Venus windows here:

http://www.mentallandscape.com/V_VenusMissions.htm

From a practical standpoint, I gather the two trajectory types arise because there isn't actually a single ideal Hohman transfer orbit for multibody systems with varying inclinations. If you look at a porkchop plot (basically a graph of the characteristic energy (C3) required to make a transfer, graphed as launch date versus arrival date, with C3 shown by contour lines, colors, or a third dimension) you see two zones of minimal transfer energy. These aren't necessarily equal, but they do define two distinct opportunities.

Wikipedia has a more relevant plot from the 2005 window used by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porkchop_plot

Blue contours are characteristic energy. Red lines are transfer times.

The minima on the lower left is the type 1 trajectory. If you view it full size so you can see the numbers, you will notice it is faster, but takes a hair more energy.


A related question I haven't found an answer to yet is if it is always the case that type 2 is more efficient?

Time is an obvious a reason to choose a type 1 trajectory (idle science teams cost money, hardware ages and experiences cosmic ray exposure, radioactive isotopes decay, etc). However, you also sacrifice mass, so I'm led to wonder if, for example, orbital missions may tend to more greatly benefit from a type 2 trajectory than direct entry missions.


* Edited - fixed first link
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 10:48 pm
As mentioned here: http://www.universetoday.com/91239/contact-established-with-phobos-grunt-spacecraft-can-the-mission-go-on/

(Ah, Hop beat me to it. :) )

And here: http://www.universetoday.com/91207/can-phobos-grunt-still-be-saved-scientists-hold-out-hope-as-deadlines-loom/
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rnc on 11/23/2011 10:58 pm
Thank you, ESA and Perth! However...is there some reason this wasn't tried sooner? Was the orbit not right for contact from Perth, or is that Russia only finally asked?

Maybe it was not configured correctly and time had to be spent setting it up. They did make some antenna mods to pull this off.

From the ESA article, they have been trying since 9th Nov. They have installed (and aligned) an antenna on the dish, plus electronics, plus heaven knows what to achieve this. Significant effort.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 10:59 pm
Yikes, that Universe Today article's a bit good! Mine - which is complete, but just finding pictures etc - is going to be bare bones, just to allow something to be used as "developing news".

I would note I was writing a very good SLS article before all of this ;)

#ChrisPrefersNASAVehicles
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 11:00 pm
Quote
Repeated contact with the spacecraft "Phobos-Grunt" was a success. As reported by a correspondent. ITAR-TASS in the NGO SA Lavochkin, with an automatic interplanetary station radio signal was received back.
The current attempt to become the second after the night from Tuesday to Wednesday ground stations Perth / Australia / able to get a first response signal from the "Phobos-Grunt" after its descent from orbit. As explained in the European Space Agency / ESA / now its specialists sent new commands that are "allowed to obtain telemetry data."
Source: http://www.itar-tass.com/c19/280016.html

Could someone check that automatic translation?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 11:04 pm
And would it be fair to say the first successful attempt Tuesday evening GMT was commands to the spacecraft. However, the telementy was on a latter pass, not the first one? (There's conflicting reports on that too).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/23/2011 11:08 pm
And would it be fair to say the first successful attempt Tuesday evening GMT was commands to the spacecraft. However, the telementy was on a latter pass, not the first one? (There's conflicting reports on that too).
From what I've read, the first one only got the carrier wave/signal, while the second contained abbreviated telemetry data.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: asdert on 11/23/2011 11:10 pm
BBC's Jonathan Amos wrote "Phobos-Grunt still has a short window in which to start its journey before a change in the alignment of the planets makes the distance to the Red Planet too big to cross."

Is he wrong?

The expression that the distance will be "too big to cross" is maybe not very accurate. In fact the longer trajectories cost less engery (with the Hohmann transfer as extreme). For shorter routes you need more delta-v, so more fuel, but less time. It is not the distance that makes it easy or hard, it is the delta-v, which translates into fuel.

The later Fobos-Grunt is sent to Mars (with a proper TMI here), the more fuel is reqiured. The more fuel is spent during the TMI, the less is available for the rest of its job.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 11:12 pm
And would it be fair to say the first successful attempt Tuesday evening GMT was commands to the spacecraft. However, the telementy was on a latter pass, not the first one? (There's conflicting reports on that too).
From what I've read, the first one only got the carrier wave/signal, while the second contained abbreviated telemetry data.

Thanks! That's how I've read it on the updates here, but wanted to double check :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/23/2011 11:12 pm
Could someone check that automatic translation?

Ignore it. Bad written old news.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/23/2011 11:21 pm
And would it be fair to say the first successful attempt Tuesday evening GMT was commands to the spacecraft. However, the telementy was on a latter pass, not the first one? (There's conflicting reports on that too).
From what I've read, the first one only got the carrier wave/signal, while the second contained abbreviated telemetry data.
Matches Anatoly Zaks account here http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#11_23

The ESA page currently only confirms the first contact: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM4NEZW5VG_index_0.html

The statement from ESAs Rene Pishel saying they have telemetry is quoted here (in Russian): http://ria.ru/science/20111124/496387514.html

edit: English version http://en.rian.ru/science/20111124/168984266.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/23/2011 11:27 pm
RIAN is good source, they use naming and quoting of their sources.
Mr. Zak often using NK forum. ESA is original source on this info.
Interfax - too late, too many errors and very small understanding.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/23/2011 11:32 pm
Thank you, ESA and Perth! However...is there some reason this wasn't tried sooner? Was the orbit not right for contact from Perth, or is that Russia only finally asked?

Maybe it was not configured correctly and time had to be spent setting it up. They did make some antenna mods to pull this off.

From the ESA article, they have been trying since 9th Nov. They have installed (and aligned) an antenna on the dish, plus electronics, plus heaven knows what to achieve this. Significant effort.

the AP says that they tricked(my words) the Antenna with a very low signal, like FG is far away from earth.
 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/23/2011 11:33 pm
From the English version Ria Novosti.

http://en.ria.ru/science/20111124/168984266.html

I've noticed that there is a difference of what is reported in the Russian version versus the English version.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/23/2011 11:41 pm
Yeah, which is why I'm asking so many questions, as this is a bit of a minefield with the conflicting reports - but it looks solid on the success of comment to the transmitter, followed by the success of gaining abbreviated telementy later.

What we don't know for sure is the health of the spacecraft, be it for some level of a mission or an ability for a controlled re-entry.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/23/2011 11:43 pm
From the English version Ria Novosti.

http://en.ria.ru/science/20111124/168984266.html

I've noticed that there is a difference of what is reported in the Russian version versus the English version.

b'coz posting time difference is more than an hour.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: mr. mark on 11/23/2011 11:46 pm
Interesting Mars mission may be over but, they may aim the craft at a near earth asteroid. Sounds like a precursor for a manned mission. Maybe fate has a way of working itself out? If it does happen that way, talk about snatching itself from defeat into the arms of victory.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/23/2011 11:55 pm
Interesting Mars mission may be over but, they may aim the craft at a near earth asteroid. Sounds like a precursor for a manned mission. Maybe fate has a way of working itself out?

Let's talk about this supposed asteroid mission.  First it costs money.  Remember FG is insured.  If you're having to pay out the insurance and Roscosmos starts using the spacecraft, aren't you going to want to deduct some of the payout?  If you ever want an FG II, then that doesn't seem like a good idea.

If you decide to go forward with the asteroid mission, what is your target?  Despite Star Wars and early NASA animation, there isn't a continous stream of asteroids coming past Earth.  Finding one that is worth the money for mission operations, narrows the field further.  Then you have to account for the PG spacecraft mass and engine (assuming it is working), and that will narrow it further.  I guess they could jettison unused mass (like the Chinese satellite) to gain more delta V but that has its own political raminifcations.

Finally and most importantly - we don't know if the spacecraft is healthy, let alone the main engine. 

So randomly asking for an asteroid mission is right now like saying how about we send FG to Venus or the asteroid that is in Earth's solar orbit or we randomly explore deep space with it or send it to L1 or explore geostationary orbit or countless other potential targets that aren't really available due to delta-V or spacecraft capabilities or even if the targets are worthwhile...It's way too early to start picking targets when you don't know the health of the spacecraft and what capabilities are available and what funding is available.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/23/2011 11:57 pm
Regarding the conflicting reports/opinions as to whether or not they can still get to Mars, what if some are assuming the delta-V available is equal to that required by the originally planned trajectory, while others are assuming more than that, either through some arbitrary margin (i.e. 10%) or through knowledge of exactly how much delta-V the spacecraft was capable of at LEO insertion?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/24/2011 12:01 am
Interesting Mars mission may be over but, they may aim the craft at a near earth asteroid. Sounds like a precursor for a manned mission.
Only through the lens of HSF-centric fantasy. In reality, it would just be an attempt to get something out of the spacecraft. As Mr. Zakharov says, landing on Phobos is similar to landing on an asteroid, so it would be the next best use of the spacecraft and instruments. Not so much for poor Yinghuo-1, but at least they'd get some deep space experience.

Whether there are any NEOs PG could actually reach is an open question, but it's certainly worth looking at if the Mars window closes with the spacecraft in operable condition.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/24/2011 12:03 am
they only had about 160-180 m/s for two corrections after automatic TMI maneuver. It was needed b'coz of engine performance and control system uncertainties or errors.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/24/2011 12:05 am
Latest baseline article on site....so we have:

The Expansive Launch and Mission Overview - by William Graham:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-zenit-2launch-fobos-grunt-sample-return-mission-to-phobos/

The Recovery Attempts and a feature on the interest in Phobos:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/russian-engineers-stricken-fobos-grunt-spacecraft/

And now the main article for baselining updates on the successes of the previous 24 hours or so:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-fobos-grunt-recovery-efforts-underway/
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/24/2011 12:07 am
they only had about 160-180 m/s for two corrections after automatic TMI maneuver.
Wonder if they could regain some delta-v by getting rid of some baggage ( *cough* poor Yinghuo-1 indeed *cough* )

EDIT: that was intended tongue in cheek. It does not appear that early jettisoning of YH would be possible.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/24/2011 12:08 am
Wonder if they could regain some delta-v by getting rid of some baggage ( *cough* poor Yinghuo-1 indeed *cough* )

Doesn't the probe have to break apart to do that and jetison the cruise stage with all that precious fuel?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/24/2011 12:08 am
If you're having to pay out the insurance and Roscosmos starts using the spacecraft, aren't you going to want to deduct some of the payout?  If you ever want an FG II, then that doesn't seem like a good idea.
I would expect that salvaging some science out of the mission would be better for the careers of those involved than collecting insurance.
Quote
I guess they could jettison unused mass (like the Chinese satellite) to gain more delta V but that has its own political raminifcations.
Can't jettison that until the cruise stage (MDU/modified Frigate) is used up, YH-1 is contained in a truss between the stage and spacecraft. The cruise stage was responsible for MOI. Jettisoning the return capsule should be possible.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Mark Max Q on 11/24/2011 12:10 am
Latest baseline article on site....so we have:

The Expansive Launch and Mission Overview - by William Graham:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-zenit-2launch-fobos-grunt-sample-return-mission-to-phobos/

The Recovery Attempts and a feature on the interest in Phobos:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/russian-engineers-stricken-fobos-grunt-spacecraft/

And now the main article for baselining updates on the successes of the previous 24 hours or so:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-fobos-grunt-recovery-efforts-underway/

Great! Thanks a lot as that really saves us having to go through all of this long thread.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: mmeijeri on 11/24/2011 12:12 am
How about turning it into Deimos Grunt to save some delta-v if necessary?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/24/2011 12:15 am
How about turning it into Deimos Grunt to save some delta-v if necessary?

as I remember, it's very small saving or none. Braking and closing ops&landing for any small body near Mars will be almost same.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/24/2011 12:16 am
I guess they could jettison unused mass (like the Chinese satellite) to gain more delta V but that has its own political raminifcations.

Unfortunately, this is almost certainly not an option. Referring back to the construction of F-G, note that the YH-1 orbiter is sandwiched between the Fregat-derived (MDU) stage and the cruise/descent stage.

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_design.html

So it appears impossible to separate the YH-1 until the MDU separates, which if I remember right, is after Mars Orbit Insertion, which is when YH-1 nominally separates anyways.

Possibly as an alternative they could use the cruise/descent stage to complete Mars Orbit Insertion, but that eliminates the possibility of landing on Phobos.

Also, I don't think anyone is calling for F-G to be sent to an asteroid. However, there is a possibility it is functional, but now unable to reach Mars. If that is the case, it's only logical to consider whether there might alternative targets.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: mmeijeri on 11/24/2011 12:21 am
as I remember, it's very small saving or none.

The old delta-v budget chart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v_budget) from Jim's favourite aerospace source suggests the difference may be ~100m/s.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/24/2011 12:21 am
I guess they could jettison unused mass (like the Chinese satellite) to gain more delta V but that has its own political raminifcations.

Unfortunately, this is almost certainly not an option. Referring back to the construction of F-G, note that the YH-1 orbiter is sandwiched between the Fregat-derived (MDU) stage and the cruise/descent stage.

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_design.html

So it appears impossible to separate the YH-1 until the MDU separates, which if I remember right, is after Mars Orbit Insertion, which is when YH-1 nominally separates anyways.

Possibly as an alternative they could use the cruise/descent stage to complete Mars Orbit Insertion, but that eliminates the possibility of landing on Phobos.

Also, I don't think anyone is calling for F-G to be sent to an asteroid. However, there is a possibility it is functional, but now unable to reach Mars. If that is the case, it's only logical to consider whether there might alternative targets.

Not to mention China wouldn't be too thrilled about having their spacecraft discarded as excess baggage.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pm1823 on 11/24/2011 12:33 am
The old delta-v budget chart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v_budget) from Jim's favourite aerospace source suggests the difference may be ~100m/s.

that's what I remember, for more I need to look in old NPOL publications
on Deimos.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/24/2011 12:35 am
From what I've read, the first one only got the carrier wave/signal, while the second contained abbreviated telemetry data.
Matches Anatoly Zaks account here http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#11_23

3 Watts from a 1.3 meter dish versus several hundred Watts (?) from a 15 meter dish. That's quite a difference.

Aside from the naturally wider beam from the smaller dish, there was some commentary about modifications to further widen the beam.

So the communications issues may indeed have been related to spacecraft tracking all along. I will keep an eye out for possible confirmation of that. Consider it speculation for the moment.

And now the main article for baselining updates on the successes of the previous 24 hours or so:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-fobos-grunt-recovery-efforts-underway/

I see you're commenting on the same factor.

As a minor note, your diagram of the spacecraft is labeled slightly differently than Anatoly Zak's. Neither are misleading, but since his information is being widely quoted and has been generally excellent, consistency might be worthwhile.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/24/2011 12:38 am
I guess they could jettison unused mass (like the Chinese satellite) to gain more delta V but that has its own political raminifcations.

Unfortunately, this is almost certainly not an option.

Not to mention China wouldn't be too thrilled about having their spacecraft discarded as excess baggage.

Quite true, although if it had been an option and it came down to China losing their mission, or China losing their mission and forcing Russia to lose theirs, they'd likely accept the painful reality.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Cbased on 11/24/2011 12:53 am
In fact, I can see quite an opposite scenario now. If there is only enough propellant to reach Mars orbit but not Phobos then a Chinese mission might become a success afterall!

P.S. tried to call the station in Perth to say thank you, but no one answered - might be still too early there (they're a few hours behind Melbourne)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 11/24/2011 01:51 am
And now the main article for baselining updates on the successes of the previous 24 hours or so:
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-fobos-grunt-recovery-efforts-underway/

Liking that.  :)

Getting pumped. Never know, we might have two success stories in succession (Fobos-Grunt & MSL) on their way by the weekend. We can hope!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/24/2011 01:57 am

As a minor note, your diagram of the spacecraft is labeled slightly differently than Anatoly Zak's.

While his content is copyrighted, so that's a moot point, ours is actually from Roscosmos! I think we'll stick with the Russian Space Agency ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: jekbradbury on 11/24/2011 02:08 am
Wikipedia has a more relevant plot from the 2005 window used by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porkchop_plot

Blue contours are characteristic energy. Red lines are transfer times.

The minima on the lower left is the type 1 trajectory. If you view it full size so you can see the numbers, you will notice it is faster, but takes a hair more energy.

This paper: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20080012680_2008012531.pdf (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20080012680_2008012531.pdf) has a version of the same porkchop plot for the 2011 launch window (Figure 3 on page 3).  It looks like the original launch date was aimed right for the minimum-energy Type II trajectory, while the minimum-energy Type I trajectory was one with a launch date of November 18.  Both trajectories are still possible, with Type II incurring a much larger energy penalty than Type I.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/24/2011 03:24 am

As a minor note, your diagram of the spacecraft is labeled slightly differently than Anatoly Zak's.

While his content is copyrighted, so that's a moot point, ours is actually from Roscosmos! I think we'll stick with the Russian Space Agency ;)

Sounds good to me! I should learn to let your always excellent info speak for itself more.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Danderman on 11/24/2011 03:56 am
To sum up recent developments, it appears that one ground station in Australia is reporting reception of partial telemetry from the spacecraft. Is that correct?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChrisC on 11/24/2011 04:53 am
Wednesday's lead article on the home page sums it up pretty well.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-fobos-grunt-recovery-efforts-underway/
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/24/2011 05:15 am
http://www.roscosmos.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=18324

Roscosmos informs us that telemetry information has been received during TWO sessions and it has been given to the specialists at NPO Lavochkin.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: woods170 on 11/24/2011 05:55 am
http://www.roscosmos.ru/main.php?id=2&nid=18324

Roscosmos informs us that telemetry information has been received during TWO sessions and it has been given to the specialists at NPO Lavochkin.

Good. It means they can establish repeated contact with FG over multiple passes. That makes for a good communications platform.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/24/2011 06:44 am
http://www.ria.ru/science/20111124/496613847.html

RIA Novosti also reports that ESA hasn't used all of the five options to contact Phobos-Grunt. (I guess this means that the successful vs unsuccessful attempts isn't equal to 2 out of 5)

I will give you a Google translate because I don't have time to read the article in detail.

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ria.ru%2Fscience%2F20111124%2F496613847.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/24/2011 06:46 am
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/content/news.shtml

Novosti kosmonavtiki also reports that the last attempt to contact the spacecraft - which happened two hours ago - has NOT been successful
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Liss on 11/24/2011 06:59 am
Svetoslav, thank you for your efforts for communicating between NK and NSF. But please be careful in mentioning sources. In the latter case, the source is not NK but BBC-Russian quoting John Holt from the Perth station. Unfortunately they did not say which pass was not successful and which (second of two this night) was.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/24/2011 07:11 am
Yes, you are right.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/24/2011 08:12 am
http://www.gazeta.ru/social/2011/11/24/3846434.shtml
(rough translation, just excerpts)
Quote
Telemetry has been received from Fobos-Grunt. So far it is telemetry from radio module only. Next task - receive telemetry from onboard computer of F-B.

Rene Pishel said at 1am Moscow time: "I can confirm we linked with the station and reiceved data. We hope it contains telemetry, but it still needs to be decrypted".

However not everything went as planned. There were 5 attempts to communicate with station, each only 6-7 minutes long.

"I do not have yet complete information about communication results of the first and other windows. I can only say that the second window at 1:57 was not used due to fact that it was much shorter than other windows". As far as he knows there was a link at 8:16 window.

Lavotchkin anounced that there were two windows when telemetry was received.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 08:25 am
So, to summarise, the Perth ground station has good a communications link with the probe.  Telemetry has been received but, at this time, the design team at Lavoichin are still crunching the bytes - no conclusions have been reached as yet, at least none that have reached the public domain.

Issues at the moment are:

1) Time critical - will they be able to find the problem before the window closes?

2) Have they got the battery chargers working again to permit operations in Earth's shadow? If not, any recovery is going to be slow and fraught with problems;

3) What is the problem? If it's software, it's potentially fixable if the power problem has been resolved.  Even if the propulsion module is a dud, then there may be a work-around if there are redundant systems.  If that doesn't work (and remember - time critical), then the mission is a scrub and they should use the reminaing RCS fuel for a controlled re-entry over a safe disposal zone like the mid-Pacific.

Overall, the guys are Lavoichin are in the metaphorical hot seats right now.  Everything depends on what they can learn from the probe's telemetry.  I'm sure that their managers are demanding Powerpoint status reports every half-hour on the half-hour.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/24/2011 08:46 am
I would not say the link is good yet. So far two commands sent directly to radio module seem to have been received and acted upon: "turn on carrier frequency" (on 23rd) and "send emergency telemetry" (this night). Communication with the main computer is still not established yet, I think.

http://www.rbcdaily.ru/2011/11/24/focus/562949982128750
Quote
"Communication in the second window was successfull, but signal was weak and short, only 6 minutes" said Rene Peshel. "There is no confirmation that it contained valid telemetry"
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/24/2011 09:13 am
It seems that the telemetry received cannot be decoded.  Usual health warnings on this report until confirmed.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.lenta.ru/news/2011/11/24/cypher/&usg=ALkJrhjYulVDYx8cnFjx-0ExM_mMINwiuQ
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/24/2011 09:33 am
Interpreting weak TM streams can be messed up by the absence of clear punctuation in the bitstream [where does each data 'word' begin?], but often that problem can be overcome by locating unchanging sequences which usually mean constant data fields, and using them as timing marks to interpret other portions of the bitstream. It takes a little work, often with long hardcopy printouts, but it has been done -- most spectacularly with the last gasps of data from the dooned, tumbling 'Columbia' orbiter in 2003.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/24/2011 09:43 am
Interfax [0938 GMT] is quoting some "former commander of the missile attack early warning army", Lieut. Gen. Nikolai Rodionov, as claiming Ph-G "could have been disabled by external influence caused by emissions from a powerful U.S. radar in Alaska".

(REQUIRES URL LINK. Material is Copyrighted).

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/24/2011 09:46 am
From what I can tell from other reports is that the data downlinked from FG was in an encrypted form, they will now attempt to uplink a request to turn this encryption off and all data downlinked will be unencrypted.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.ria.ru/science/20111124/496766305.html&usg=ALkJrhhrMcFAx2yubRiWN098LRCWcR3Jfg
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/24/2011 09:58 am
Interfax [0938 GMT] is quoting some "former commander of the missile attack early warning army", Lieut. Gen. Nikolai Rodionov, as claiming Ph-G "could have been disabled by external influence caused by emissions from a powerful U.S. radar in Alaska".


DO you have a link to that article?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 10:02 am
From what I can tell from other reports is that the data downlinked from FG was in an encrypted form, they will now attempt to uplink a request to turn this encryption off and all data downlinked will be unencrypted.

Why on Earth (or Phobos, in this case) would a civilian probe need to encrypt its telemetry data? And why would the probe's manufacturers not have the key to the encryption?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/24/2011 10:15 am
DO you have a link to that article?
One in Russian (Vesti) is here:
http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=640153&cid=8

As far as I understood it does not imply intentional usage of radar against F-G, but a side-effect (EM interference) of a military radar from early-warning system. Being wary of foreign equipment is not Russia-specific, USA has the same thinking for "Made in China" components...

"Encryption" is maybe a bad translation, it could be "encoding". I guess some sort of convolutional code is used there, but does not work out to a valid sequence.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/24/2011 10:28 am
Reminder to all - as much as most of you are complying. Content on other sites is copyrighted, unless it's an Agency site like Roscosmos or NASA. no one has the right to copy and paste it into here.

1) Always link.
2) Include an abstract, that's fine.
3) If it's in Russian, the translation is fine to post, but again, with a URL.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/24/2011 10:38 am
Why on Earth (or Phobos, in this case) would a civilian probe need to encrypt its telemetry data?

Why wouldn't it? Why should anyone else be able to eavesdrop and steal telemetry?

Quote
And why would the probe's manufacturers not have the key to the encryption?

It's not as simple as that. Depending on the length of the encription window, it may be impossible to decode anything if only partial fragments are received. Whereas with unencrypted packets, they can be made sense of individually.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/24/2011 10:44 am
Why on Earth (or Phobos, in this case) would a civilian probe need to encrypt its telemetry data?

Why wouldn't it? Why should anyone else be able to eavesdrop and steal telemetry?

Quote
And why would the probe's manufacturers not have the key to the encryption?

It's not as simple as that. Depending on the length of the encription window, it may be impossible to decode anything if only partial fragments are received. Whereas with unencrypted packets, they can be made sense of individually.

Recall that Jodrell Bank intercepted the transmission containing the first images of the surface of the Moon from Luna 9.  The Soviets were very unhappy that the West saw the images before they did.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 10:51 am
Why on Earth (or Phobos, in this case) would a civilian probe need to encrypt its telemetry data?

Why wouldn't it? Why should anyone else be able to eavesdrop and steal telemetry?

Why should they care? I mean, it's basically flight, instrument and equipment status data, right? There is no reasonable cause to restrict it other than the Soviet-era paranoia about "enemies" (mostly illusiory) constantly plotting against them that seems never to have dropped out of vogue in Russia.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/24/2011 10:56 am
Why should they care? I mean, it's basically flight, instrument and equipment status data, right?
All instrument scientific data is transmitted via telemetry.

Quote
There is no reasonable cause to restrict it other than the Soviet-era paranoia about "enemies" (mostly illusiory) constantly plotting against them that seems never to have dropped out of vogue in Russia.

Naive. The constant inputting of ideas about Soviet-era paranoia is getting tiresome. There are good reasons to encrypt both uplink and downlink.

Why do you think western scientists have ususally 6 to 12 month proprietary periods for their instrument data before they're required to make it accessible to the public? Do you think they would like seeing someone else receive the same telemetry and scoop them for results?

Do you recall what happened to one of the western satellites in LEO recently?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/24/2011 11:09 am
Why on Earth (or Phobos, in this case) would a civilian probe need to encrypt its telemetry data?

as far as I know all NASA probes encrypt their data. IIRC Clementine was the only US probe with unencrypted data
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 11:17 am
Why should they care? I mean, it's basically flight, instrument and equipment status data, right?
All instrument scientific data is transmitted via telemetry.

By all means, encrypt the scientific data but there is no reason to encrypt the downlink engineering and navigation data.  That can (and should) be done upstream of the communications computer so there is no pressing reason why all downlink is encrypted.

Quote
Quote
There is no reasonable cause to restrict it other than the Soviet-era paranoia about "enemies" (mostly illusiory) constantly plotting against them that seems never to have dropped out of vogue in Russia.

Do you recall what happened to one of the western satellites in LEO recently?

Irrelevant.  Uplink can and should be protected.  This current situation shows that downlink encryption of engineering and navigation data is simply an impediment to troubleshooting.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/24/2011 11:24 am
So are we thinking FG is "saying the right things" but we've not yet gathered the entire message (so it's garbled and encrypted), as opposed to FG talking nonsense via a fault?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/24/2011 11:40 am
If it is a translation error, where encrypted means encoded, encoding could mean that the data is compressed. Depending on how the compression is done, compression removes duplicate data. If the compression does not have robust enough error correction built-in and you do not get the complete "package" you might not be able to easily decompress the data stream and turn it back into usable data.

Considering this probe is designed to send large amounts of data over long distances with a limited data rate, compression makes sense.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: algos on 11/24/2011 11:52 am
Does anybody know what are the rates available for download and upload?
It worries me that the problem of uploading new software, should this need arise, cannot be done in the very short time intervals when communications can be established... :-\
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/24/2011 11:56 am
This night, they will try to get unencoded data.

http://en.rian.ru/science/20111124/169002288.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 12:04 pm
This night, they will try to get unencoded data.

http://en.rian.ru/science/20111124/169002288.html

Got to be a good thing.

Anyone know what the final drop-dead date is for the closure of the window to approach the Martian Moons, given P-G's delta-v budget?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/24/2011 12:07 pm
By all means, encrypt the scientific data but there is no reason to encrypt the downlink engineering and navigation data.  That can (and should) be done upstream of the communications computer so there is no pressing reason why all downlink is encrypted.

What is your expertise in the field to claim you know what should be done and how the whole telemetry bitstream is or should be handled in the first place? What makes you think they have separate encoders for different telemetry packet types for whatever reason (cost, complexity, power, etcetera)?

This is real life engineering, not sitting in an armchair and specifying requirements post festum.

Quote
Irrelevant.  Uplink can and should be protected.  This current situation shows that downlink encryption of engineering and navigation data is simply an impediment to troubleshooting.

Ahh, the old 20-20 hindsight wisdom.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 12:32 pm
Irrelevant.  Uplink can and should be protected.  This current situation shows that downlink encryption of engineering and navigation data is simply an impediment to troubleshooting.

Ahh, the old 20-20 hindsight wisdom.

As you pointed out, I'm no expert.  The people who designed the probe and its communication subsystem, presumably are experts and should have been capable of working out this contingency.  It is, after all, supposedly their job to do so.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: as58 on 11/24/2011 12:36 pm
Interfax [0938 GMT] is quoting some "former commander of the missile attack early warning army", Lieut. Gen. Nikolai Rodionov, as claiming Ph-G "could have been disabled by external influence caused by emissions from a powerful U.S. radar in Alaska".

(REQUIRES URL LINK. Material is Copyrighted).


No matter what happens, you can always bet on someone blaming the HAARP...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ugordan on 11/24/2011 12:41 pm
The people who designed the probe and its communication subsystem, presumably are experts and should have been capable of working out this contingency. 

Which they are obviously doing right now. So what's the problem?
The bigger problem would be an inability to turn the encription off on demand. Like a certain Saturn spacecraft that had a certain Titan probe receiver firmware non-updateable in flight. Certain d'oh moments can and do occur in each mission, doesn't mean the teams are incompetent and that everyone with hindsight should be screaming OMG you encript teh telemetry?!!11eleven
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/24/2011 12:46 pm
Interfax [0938 GMT] is quoting some "former commander of the missile attack early warning army", Lieut. Gen. Nikolai Rodionov, as claiming Ph-G "could have been disabled by external influence caused by emissions from a powerful U.S. radar in Alaska".

(REQUIRES URL LINK. Material is Copyrighted).


No matter what happens, you can always bet on someone blaming the HAARP...

He also took a poke at missile defense radars; if I recall there is an active X-band in Alaska.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/24/2011 12:59 pm
BREAKING NEWS: Looks like the ground station at Baikonur is receiving telemetry from Phobo-Grunt too!  ;D

Link: http://www.interfax.ru/politics/txt.asp?id=218260 (http://www.interfax.ru/politics/txt.asp?id=218260)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SiberianTiger on 11/24/2011 01:00 pm
http://www.interfax.ru/politics/txt.asp?id=218260 (http://www.interfax.ru/politics/txt.asp?id=218260)

Quote
November 24, 2011 17:40

Moscow. November 24. INTERFAX.RU - Russian ground tracking station in Baikonur (Kazakhstan) has established communications with Russian interplanetary probe Phobos-Grunt that has stuck in Earth's orbit and managed to receive telemetry information from it, told a source from Baikonur.

"About an hour (ago or p.m. -???) our station has been able to make a link with the spacecraft and take telemetry readings. We have begun decoding the data. So far it's going fine" - he told us.

Roscosmos have confirmed the information of establishing communication to Phobos-Grunt. "A signal from the spacecraft and part of telemetry are received. At present moment, our specialists are working with that data", told us Alexey Kuznetsov, head of the agency's press service.

Onboard computer of Phobos-Grunt is working and powered enough for its function. In the nearest possibility, Baikonur will repeat communicating to the probe.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Danderman on 11/24/2011 01:14 pm
So far, I can't determine if what is happening is that the ground stations are now capable of "hearing" a blindly transmitting spacecraft, or whether telemetry is being sent on command by the spacecraft.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/24/2011 01:21 pm
Apparently independent of the telemetry developments, the anomalous orbital behavior ceased or greatly abated a couple of days ago -- the perigee is now coming down instead of going up.

At the same time, SatEvo decay predictions settled down to Jan 12-14.

Edit:

See

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0291.html
http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0299.html

"A quick update of last night's report: ballistic flight continued through the epoch 11328.24537235 USSTRATCOM TLE.

"Manoeuvring ended sometime between the TLEs of epoch 11324.94169617 and 11325.19110916."
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/24/2011 01:25 pm
More ESA news.

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM5AJZW5VG_index_0.html

Quote
During last night's first two passes, one of the two low-gain antennas on Phobos–Grunt was, due to the spacecraft's orbital position, oriented toward Perth, and communications worked.
 
During the three later passes, the spacecraft's orbital position changed, and the second, opposing, antenna had to be used – but no signal was received.

Quote
Another five communication slots are available during the night of 24–25 November, and the Perth tracking station will again be allocated on a priority basis to Phobos–Grunt.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 01:28 pm
My gut feeling is that this is some kind of weird software error - the TMI burn command was never sent for some reason.  The reason I say this was that, if it was an engine failure and the flight control computer was continuing down its list of pre-scheduled commands regardless of the failure, the propulsion module and the Chinese satellite would have both seperated and been spotted seperately.

It is possible that the solar array deployment with propulsion module still attached might be an automatic contingency program in the event of a TMI burn failure but we'll wait and see.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SiberianTiger on 11/24/2011 01:34 pm

It is possible that the solar array deployment with propulsion module still attached might be an automatic contingency program in the event of a TMI burn failure but we'll wait and see.

Nonsense, the propulsion module was supposed to remain attached all the way down Mars orbit insertion.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/24/2011 01:35 pm
Quote from: Ben
Why on Earth (or Phobos, in this case) would a (1) civilian probe need to encrypt its telemetry data? And why would the (2) probe's manufacturers not have the key to the encryption?

(1) I'll tell ya why.  Because it is the data itself that is proprietary, and it needs to be "filtered" before the public is "granted" limited access.  But it also may be that the translation is inadequate, since "coding", generally, would be expected.  As to whether or not it is fine to keep the public in the dark as to the data, I recognize that after spending all the money they have on the probe, that they would be jealous of that data, and the next legitimate question, by UGordon is legitimately asked:  "Why should anyone else be able to eavesdrop and steal telemetry?"  The answer to that would be in asking the question, What then is the real meaning of "we come on behalf of all mankind", and other similar agency blandishments.  For me, that is a very interesting side discussion, but I don't have a pat answer.

(2)  That, I couldn't guess.  But I think both questions are legitimately asked.

Obviously uplink needs to be seriously encrypted.  That downlink encrypting is thought to be "simply an impediment to troubleshooting", shows that the impediment then can "simply" be the proximate cause of some types of failure.

Quote from: UGordon
What is your expertise in the field to claim you know what should be done and how the whole telemetry bitstream is or should be handled in the first place?

The same thing was asked of me when I questioned, with the "expertise" of 20-20 hindsight, the wisdom of confusing imperial and metric units in our failed martian probe.  An explanation of the benefits and detriments of downlink encoding would be far more helpful to everyone.  Again, regarding expertise, the "amateur" rightly would think that the "experts" would have considered beforehand the contingency plans.  That is the fundamental difference between amateurs and experts.

Note that the extra fuel tank is thought to have been an impediment to communication as well, and the possibility of its failure to have separated may not have been considered during the design of the mission.  Eventually, there will be a de-briefing of some sort regarding the failure.  My prediction is that the managerial DNA of the Russians is virtually identical to American managers, when the time comes to accept responsibility for errors.  "Not me", and "we never thought of that", are two phrases which can be directly translated from English to Russian.  Savvy?

More to the point:  Can F-G be saved?  Can it be parked into a higher stable orbit where atmospheric drag is minimized, so as to stay up there for a period until the next window opens?  Could there be a Russian rescue mission?  It would be a shame to lose that machine.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: LegendCJS on 11/24/2011 01:52 pm
Why are people asking about rescue missions?  The whole probe cost <$200 million.  Does anyone really think a rescue would be cheaper than a straight up replacement, especially now that the design for the probe is set (except for fixes to the problems revealed this time around)?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/24/2011 02:05 pm
An English-language story about Rodionov's ravings is here:
Did US 'climate weapon' knock-out Russian probe?
http://rt.com/news/phobos-grunt-climate-weapon-129/
In particular don't miss the comments section.

If you yandex.ru the right terms you'll find
the story has gone viral in the Russian media, including in
official government newspapers [which didn't endorse it].
http://www.rg.ru/2011/11/24/kosmos-site-anons.html

Фобос-Грунт and  Николай Родионов
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Cbased on 11/24/2011 02:12 pm
If this is indeed orientation sensors ("stabilisers"?)(all of them?) at fault then how did it pass vibration tests? (assuming they were damaged during launch).
Too many questions.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 02:23 pm
Why are people asking about rescue missions?  The whole probe cost <$200 million.  Does anyone really think a rescue would be cheaper than a straight up replacement, especially now that the design for the probe is set (except for fixes to the problems revealed this time around)?

An interesting question.  I think it is a genuine lack of knowledge of what a rescue mission would cost and how long it would take to plan and prepare for.

I blame Hollywood.  No, seriously; Armageddon is a good example of a film in which a major HSF mission is planned, prepared and executed in a few weeks when it would actually take years.  I think that people honestly think that a Soyuz could be prepped and a crew launched to trouble-shoot the probe with a few days' lead time because that's the way it happens in the movies.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: douglas100 on 11/24/2011 02:29 pm
My gut feeling is that this is some kind of weird software error - the TMI burn command was never sent for some reason.  The reason I say this was that, if it was an engine failure and the flight control computer was continuing down its list of pre-scheduled commands regardless of the failure, the propulsion module and the Chinese satellite would have both seperated and been spotted seperately.

No, the propulsion module and YH 1 are supposed to separate after the vehicle reaches Mars orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/24/2011 02:51 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111124/497098161.html

According to an unnamed source the specialists have been able to decode the telemetry which has been received from Baykonur.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/24/2011 02:56 pm
An English-language story about Rodionov's ravings is here:
Did US 'climate weapon' knock-out Russian probe?
http://rt.com/news/phobos-grunt-climate-weapon-129/
In particular don't miss the comments section.

Funny, due to the launch inclination, I think it was closest Alaska just before T-0. The burn was supposed to happen over south america.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/24/2011 03:05 pm
More from RIA Novosti: The unnamed source says that there are two types of telemetry : the "emergency one" and the other one, received from BKU. The unmanned source doesnt say which one has been decoded successfully

More to follow
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SiberianTiger on 11/24/2011 03:12 pm
More from RIA Novosti: The unnamed source says that there are two types of telemetry : the "emergency one" and the other one, received from BKU. The unmanned source doesnt say which one has been decoded successfully

More to follow

The one from BKU, according to NK forum.

BTW, "the unmanned source" is a precious saying in the context!  ;D
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 11/24/2011 03:20 pm
More from RIA Novosti: The unnamed source says that there are two types of telemetry : the "emergency one" and the other one, received from BKU. The unmanned source doesnt say which one has been decoded successfully

More to follow

Appreciate the translation updates you are providing!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: asdert on 11/24/2011 03:26 pm
According to the tracking data provided by Heavans Above, F-G passes over Baikonur several times per day (of course), but only one or two are really useful, because F-G will not be in sunlight during the others.

Now those around 13:30 UTC happen just at the time when F-G goes into the shadow of the Earth, which is a very interesting moment.

Will the transmitter stop sending abruptly after there is no longer sunlight shining on the solar panels?
Will it take some time, because the batteries can still provide some power for a few minutes?
Will F-G still be able to send a message "power level decreasing, initiating sleep mode, shutting down all sys..."?

Note: edited for typos and clarity
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/24/2011 03:31 pm
Why are people asking about rescue missions?  The whole probe cost <$200 million.  Does anyone really think a rescue would be cheaper than a straight up replacement, especially now that the design for the probe is set (except for fixes to the problems revealed this time around)?

An interesting question.  I think it is a genuine lack of knowledge of what a rescue mission would cost and how long it would take to plan and prepare for.

I blame Hollywood.  No, seriously; Armageddon is a good example of a film in which a major HSF mission is planned, prepared and executed in a few weeks when it would actually take years.  I think that people honestly think that a Soyuz could be prepped and a crew launched to trouble-shoot the probe with a few days' lead time because that's the way it happens in the movies.
I agree with you Ben. I occasionally show Apollo 13 to my students and when I ask them for comments I usually hear the word “boring”… Then I tell them that this is “science fact not science fiction”… So in a sense reality is boring for them. That’s what you get when they spend most of their life immersed in some video game… Sad really and explains the lack of interest in “real” space exploration and HSF.

Regards
Robert
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: baldusi on 11/24/2011 03:52 pm
Obviously uplink needs to be seriously encrypted.  That downlink encrypting is thought to be "simply an impediment to troubleshooting", shows that the impediment then can "simply" be the proximate cause of some types of failure.
Uplink should be authenticated. You can do unencrypted authentication, with PKI. You are giving away your formatting, and might give some proprietary info. But the fundamental is the authentication. The desirable is encryption on top of that. Making it encrypted but unauthenticated is a recipe for disaster. And you'd be surprised at how may "security systems" are vulnerable to such basic attacks as Man-in-the-Middle and Replay.
On the other hand, the Russians have some of the best, if not the very best hackers. If I were Russian I would use very aggressive encryption and authentication, just to keep some bored hacker from trying to make the ultimate hack, just for the publicity of it. And wrt efficiency, encryption tries to keep everything as close to white noise as possible. As such, it usually implements a compression scheme to reduce any pattern. And, for a deep space probe, I'm sure cpu cycles are more abundant than TX/RX bandwidth. So, in that sense should be free, too.
Title: Could waiting for the next start window be an option?
Post by: Hurrikansaison on 11/24/2011 03:58 pm
Hello everybody!

I'm no expert at all but I haven't found a better board/thread to ask my question(s). If you consider my post doesn't belong here please just delete and forget it.

Let's suppose Roskosmos actually will reach control of the probe.
In this case we'll see a conflict of interests. Russian's very own (best use of PG), Chinese (Yinghuo-1) and the LIFExperiment. I know this is no place to discuss political detail and that isn't my intention.

But wouldn't it be a priority to try to take all the 3 missions onboard PG to success?

If I understand things well: Right now PG could still reach Mars (Phobos) but would be unable to return to Earth. Reaching Mars orbit could make Chinese happy because Yinghuo-1 isn't meant to come back. On the other hand I have the impression Roskosmos isn't willing to use PG only as a transportation service for the Chinese satellite. You know that some sources indicate Russian interest in different targets already.

LIFExperiment experts on their part appear to be fine with almost everything, as long as PG really leaves earth orbit and travels through space.

If it's true - and only IF it's true - that the next Go-and-Return-Window to Mars opens in about 26 months .... Are there any reasons why Roskosmos couldn't wait until 2013 to finally bring PG on its track?

A simple mind like me is just thinking:
- Gain the control
- Send PG into a (much) higher orbit to improve communications (time-window) and keep the probe there
- Wait until the next Mars-window opens ... and use the time - lots of time - you bought well and carefully.

What kind of circumstances would probably avoid success or make this idea pure nonsens?
Is fuel a problem?
Is there anything onboard with a limited time factor?
Hardware, materials?
Would launch (from orbit)-, ignition-, constellation- or travel conditions be too different to make it possible?

As I said at the beginning: If you think this "theory" is quite absurd, please just ignore and delete it. On the other hand I'd be greatful if someone could answer briefly.   
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/24/2011 04:16 pm
Uplink should be authenticated. You can do unencrypted authentication, with PKI.
Very good observation, a lot of people mix up the functions of authentication, authorization and encryption.

Quote
As such, it usually implements a compression scheme to reduce any pattern. And, for a deep space probe, I'm sure cpu cycles are more abundant than TX/RX bandwidth. So, in that sense should be free, too.
If you are talking power efficiency, you are absolutely correct : keeping the cpu awake for a few microseconds to compress a packet is always cheaper in watts consumed, than keeping the antenna powered ( the same applies for all battery-powered wireless electronics .. )

However, you do not always want compression, sometimes/often quite the opposite, you add forward error correction bits, which is basically the opposite of compression.

A good protocol is flexible with the environment changes : in known to be  lossy transmission environment you may want to add lots of FEC, in other cases you may want to do a lot of compression to save every milliwatt.

EDIT: of course, spectral efficiency is what most deep space protocols would optimize for.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: joek on 11/24/2011 04:17 pm
Obviously uplink needs to be seriously encrypted.  That downlink encrypting is thought to be "simply an impediment to troubleshooting", shows that the impediment then can "simply" be the proximate cause of some types of failure.
Uplink should be authenticated. You can do unencrypted authentication, with PKI. You are giving away your formatting, and might give some proprietary info. But the fundamental is the authentication. The desirable is encryption on top of that. Making it encrypted but unauthenticated is a recipe for disaster. And you'd be surprised at how may "security systems" are vulnerable to such basic attacks as Man-in-the-Middle and Replay.
On the other hand, the Russians have some of the best, if not the very best hackers. If I were Russian I would use very aggressive encryption and authentication, just to keep some bored hacker from trying to make the ultimate hack, just for the publicity of it. And wrt efficiency, encryption tries to keep everything as close to white noise as possible. As such, it usually implements a compression scheme to reduce any pattern. And, for a deep space probe, I'm sure cpu cycles are more abundant than TX/RX bandwidth. So, in that sense should be free, too.

Agree uplink authentication is minimum requirement, for safety if nothing else (aka message authentication code "MAC" or message integrity code "MIC").  However, you don't need asymmetric key crypto ("public key", "PKI"); it can and is done with symmertic key crypto ("shared key") which is considerably more efficient than asymmetric key crypto.

In any case, most (all?) downlink typically includes forward error correction (FEC).  Likely the problems were (are?) due to error/noise level which exceeded the capability of the FEC.


p.s. Crypto typically does not include compression.  However, you always want to perform compression before encryption, as compression relies on repetitive data patterns.  Good crypto will produce ciphertext which does not have repetitive patterns (i.e., it is incompressible).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: edkyle99 on 11/24/2011 04:34 pm
An English-language story about Rodionov's ravings is here:
Did US 'climate weapon' knock-out Russian probe?
http://rt.com/news/phobos-grunt-climate-weapon-129/
In particular don't miss the comments section.

Funny, due to the launch inclination, I think it was closest Alaska just before T-0. The burn was supposed to happen over south america.

Location doesn't matter!  HAARP has been blamed for the downing of TWA Flight 800, Gulf War syndrome, earthquakes in South America, and so on. 

Russia has, or had, super-powerful radars bouncing across the arctic too.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/24/2011 04:41 pm
Location doesn't matter!  HAARP has been blamed for the downing of TWA Flight 800, Gulf War syndrome, earthquakes in South America, and so on.

FWIW, HAARP has been blamed for the collapse of the Twin Towers too. :P


Is there any word about whether the probe has any power over the night-side? If not, then any trouble-shooting will be an exercise in frustration.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 11/24/2011 04:44 pm
Hello everybody!

I'm no expert at all but I haven't found a better board/thread to ask my question(s). If you consider my post doesn't belong here please just delete and forget it.

Let's suppose Roskosmos actually will reach control of the probe.
In this case we'll see a conflict of interests. Russian's very own (best use of PG), Chinese (Yinghuo-1) and the LIFExperiment. I know this is no place to discuss political detail and that isn't my intention.

But wouldn't it be a priority to try to take all the 3 missions onboard PG to success?

If I understand things well: Right now PG could still reach Mars (Phobos) but would be unable to return to Earth. Reaching Mars orbit could make Chinese happy because Yinghuo-1 isn't meant to come back. On the other hand I have the impression Roskosmos isn't willing to use PG only as a transportation service for the Chinese satellite. You know that some sources indicate Russian interest in different targets already.

LIFExperiment experts on their part appear to be fine with almost everything, as long as PG really leaves earth orbit and travels through space.

If it's true - and only IF it's true - that the next Go-and-Return-Window to Mars opens in about 26 months .... Are there any reasons why Roskosmos couldn't wait until 2013 to finally bring PG on its track?

A simple mind like me is just thinking:
- Gain the control
- Send PG into a (much) higher orbit to improve communications (time-window) and keep the probe there
- Wait until the next Mars-window opens ... and use the time - lots of time - you bought well and carefully.

What kind of circumstances would probably avoid success or make this idea pure nonsens?
Is fuel a problem?
Is there anything onboard with a limited time factor?
Hardware, materials?
Would launch (from orbit)-, ignition-, constellation- or travel conditions be too different to make it possible?

As I said at the beginning: If you think this "theory" is quite absurd, please just ignore and delete it. On the other hand I'd be greatful if someone could answer briefly.   

Some of these ideas have been mooted earlier in the thread. Although I think you have stated them a bit more clearly than others.
The problems with putting the mission on a 2-year hiatus involve at least three potential problems:
- the 2013 launch window will have different delta-v requirements; I don't know whether PG can meet these or not
- because the TMI burn has to be made during a low altitude pass, the parking orbit would need to retain a perigee of c.300km; there is unlikely to be sufficient delta-v budget to raise it and then lower it again. This means the orbit will still suffer some drag, and more importantly could end up crossing the Van Allen belts
- Soviet/Russian unmanned deep-space hardware is not known for its longevity. Even their most succesful Mars missions of the past have only lasted a few weeks after arrival. So, some people have expressed doubts about the probe's ability to operate over such an extended mission
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rnc on 11/24/2011 04:46 pm
Suspect FG would be difficult to hack for practical reasons - big antenna, need for knowledge of rf data formatting,accurate tracking of the fast moving object, orbit parameters, Doppler compensation. Before u even get to crypto. Look how hard it was for Roscosmos who built it to get comms.

Crossing fingers for plucky little FG being rescued from certain doom at clutching hands of gravity.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Hurrikansaison on 11/24/2011 04:57 pm
Some of these ideas have been mooted earlier in the thread. Although I think you have stated them a bit more clearly than others.
The problems with putting the mission on a 2-year hiatus involve at least three potential problems:
- the 2013 launch window will have different delta-v requirements; I don't know whether PG can meet these or not
- because the TMI burn has to be made during a low altitude pass, the parking orbit would need to retain a perigee of c.300km; there is unlikely to be sufficient delta-v budget to raise it and then lower it again. This means the orbit will still suffer some drag, and more importantly could end up crossing the Van Allen belts
- Soviet/Russian unmanned deep-space hardware is not known for its longevity. Even their most succesful Mars missions of the past have only lasted a few weeks after arrival. So, some people have expressed doubts about the probe's ability to operate over such an extended mission

That's exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks a lot.
And I really apologize if I have "warmed up" topics you've already talked about.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/24/2011 05:22 pm
The problems with putting the mission on a 2-year hiatus involve at least three potential problems: ..
The very remote upside would be that you could, in theory, mount a servicing/rescue mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JWag on 11/24/2011 05:30 pm
The very remote upside would be that you could, in theory, mount a servicing/rescue mission.

That's been covered in this thread MANY times.  The top reason it won't happen: A rescue mission would cost more than a replacement probe. 

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/24/2011 05:31 pm
The problems with putting the mission on a 2-year hiatus involve at least three potential problems: ..
The very remote upside would be that you could, in theory, mount a servicing/rescue mission.

It is a giant bomb, non starter for any manned servicing mission...

Besides the drop tank was not designed for an extended stay in LEO. It most likely does not have heaters to keep the props from freezing.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 11/24/2011 05:33 pm
The problems with putting the mission on a 2-year hiatus involve at least three potential problems: ..
The very remote upside would be that you could, in theory, mount a servicing/rescue mission.

For a spacecraft with unknown flaws, which was never designed for orbital servicing, or for being grappled or approached, and which barely costs any more than any hypothetical 'servcing' mission itself, and which belongs to a nation whose manned space program is fully committed and also lacks a manned craft capable of grappling and working on another spacecraft.

No offence, but you might as well hope for the Buran to be brought back to life so that they can bring PG back to Earth. Which is not going to happen either.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: mr. mark on 11/24/2011 05:34 pm
Quick question, could the spacecraft land on the Moon and launch from the lunar surface? Phobos and the Moon having different variables, what would the requirements be on the spacecraft for lunar landing and return vs. Phobos  landing and return?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/24/2011 05:47 pm
Meanwhile, in the real world ;)

Quote
According to the source agency, there are two types of telemetry. "The first - the emergency telemetry, receive it in the worst case, if nothing else could not decipher. There is a complete telemetry received directly from the onboard control complex (SCU)," - said the source, noting that he is not yet known what type of telemetry was transcribed.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://ria.ru/science/20111124/497098161.html&usg=ALkJrhj3_wXZcLf2P_BEP83xrOBof9oDQA

(Chris, that quote seems to be 'fair use', no copyright issues then?)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/24/2011 05:50 pm
Quick question, could the spacecraft land on the Moon and launch from the lunar surface? Phobos and the Moon having different variables, what would the requirements be on the spacecraft for lunar landing and return vs. Phobos  landing and return?

What is the difference in mass between Phobos and the Moon?  You'll have your answer when you see the difference.  Not to mention the thermal differences between long term operations in Earth orbit and Mars orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/24/2011 05:56 pm


Some of these ideas have been mooted earlier in the thread. Although I think you have stated them a bit more clearly than others.
The problems with putting the mission on a 2-year hiatus involve at least three potential problems:
- the 2013 launch window will have different delta-v requirements; I don't know whether PG can meet these or not
- because the TMI burn has to be made during a low altitude pass, the parking orbit would need to retain a perigee of c.300km; there is unlikely to be sufficient delta-v budget to raise it and then lower it again. This means the orbit will still suffer some drag, and more importantly could end up crossing the Van Allen belts
- Soviet/Russian unmanned deep-space hardware is not known for its longevity. Even their most succesful Mars missions of the past have only lasted a few weeks after arrival. So, some people have expressed doubts about the probe's ability to operate over such an extended mission

Keep in mind the different environments between going to Mars over eleven months and staying in low Earth (or even higher Earth) orbit.  The thermal differences are certainly the constant night/day passes and the heat coming off Earth's surface (even at night).  This is another thing people are overlooking when they talk about staying in Earth orbit long-term.  Also the lifetime of the upper stage components.  They are designed for a day of use, not months of use.

And then, above all, is we still don't know what was wrong with the spacecraft initially that caused the lack of a burn.  Even the idea of a partial power failure is based on very little data, although it fits the facts as we know them right now.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/24/2011 05:59 pm
Suspect FG would be difficult to hack for practical reasons - big antenna, need for knowledge of rf data formatting,accurate tracking of the fast moving object, orbit parameters, Doppler compensation. Before u even get to crypto. Look how hard it was for Roscosmos who built it to get comms.

Crossing fingers for plucky little FG being rescued from certain doom at clutching hands of gravity.



Really - so the supposed hackers would have forseen that the probe would remain in low Earth orbit??  How about if the spacecraft was on its way to Mars.

In any event there is a lot of confusion between the translated words between encrypted and encoded.  All data is encoded but there are different types of encoding schemes. 

And, yes, encryption can be used to protect scientific data and pretty much any other type of data that someone would consider valuable.  Usually when encryption is done it is an all data or no data choice.  Otherwise you might be giving some information away (what isn't encrypted can provide clues about what is encrypted).

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/24/2011 06:05 pm
It is a giant bomb, non starter for any manned servicing mission...
You and others here, nobody said anything about manned.

Its entirely possible that someone could come up with a makeshift way of boosting or closing the required delta-v gap by a simple propulsion module launched on one of many russias cheap small launchers, assuming other longevity problems could be solved and the probe can at least regain attitude hold capability.

This is obviously all very hypothetical, which is why i said "very remote" from the outset, but i'm betting Roscosmos will be evaluating every single way of salvaging whats possible out of their investment. The reported mission cost is $170M, so no small change.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/24/2011 06:10 pm
Meanwhile, in the real world ;)

Quote
According to the source agency, there are two types of telemetry. "The first - the emergency telemetry, receive it in the worst case, if nothing else could not decipher. There is a complete telemetry received directly from the onboard control complex (SCU)," - said the source, noting that he is not yet known what type of telemetry was transcribed.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://ria.ru/science/20111124/497098161.html&usg=ALkJrhj3_wXZcLf2P_BEP83xrOBof9oDQA

(Chris, that quote seems to be 'fair use', no copyright issues then?)

Correct sir :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/24/2011 06:42 pm
If this is indeed orientation sensors ("stabilisers"?)(all of them?) at fault then how did it pass vibration tests? (assuming they were damaged during launch).
Too many questions.

Yes way, way too many questions and not enough "official" reports.  I have major questions about this power supply issue.    Were the solar panels really fully deployed? or in wait for higher orbit, and drop tanks commanded etc.?

How many AMPs does the fully deployed solar panels on FG generate?

If you look at the mission, how is the mission going to get enough energy to operate if the batteries can't hold a charge for 45 minutes. 

questions, questions and more questions.

Edit: added ?'s
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/24/2011 07:01 pm
The problems with putting the mission on a 2-year hiatus involve at least three potential problems: ..
The very remote upside would be that you could, in theory, mount a servicing/rescue mission.

It is a giant bomb, non starter for any manned servicing mission...

Besides the drop tank was not designed for an extended stay in LEO. It most likely does not have heaters to keep the props from freezing.

Maybe someone who knows can answer this?

If they get the power problem fixed......can FG be turned into the sun to warm up the drop tank enough to use the fuel?

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/24/2011 07:52 pm
Maybe someone who knows can answer this?

If they get the power problem fixed......
What "power problem" ? It's not certain there is one. The fact that the first signals were received in daylight passes is suggestive, but there are many other plausible scenarios.

edit:
Recent ESA posts suggests that only one of the LGAs is working, which would explains some failed passes http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEM5AJZW5VG_0.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/24/2011 07:56 pm
Quote
The "Phobos-Grunt" refused stabilizing sensors in space - the source says. - Due to the failure of these sensors the satellite is not able to navigate by the stars, so that does not work propulsion.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://www.lifenews.ru/news/75368&usg=ALkJrhjIY83Hi_Vn1N_2vspBNJXiWlCJ7Q (http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://www.lifenews.ru/news/75368&usg=ALkJrhjIY83Hi_Vn1N_2vspBNJXiWlCJ7Q)

Yes, it's yet another unnamed source... Wish we'd see some official updates instead!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/24/2011 08:09 pm
The problems with putting the mission on a 2-year hiatus involve at least three potential problems: ..
The very remote upside would be that you could, in theory, mount a servicing/rescue mission.

It is a giant bomb, non starter for any manned servicing mission...

Besides the drop tank was not designed for an extended stay in LEO. It most likely does not have heaters to keep the props from freezing.

Maybe someone who knows can answer this?

If they get the power problem fixed......can FG be turned into the sun to warm up the drop tank enough to use the fuel?



Let's try this from the angle of a generic spacecraft rather than PG.  If you are trying to warm frozen hydrazine, you have to remember that hydrazine is volatile by nature.  If I remember right the Japanese Hayabusa lost its hydrazine when the tank froze and then thawed.  This resulted in leaks developing and the hydrazine migrated out through leaks as the pressure rose.

So, that's the first problem.

Hydrazine is also corrosive and many Soviet/Russian spacecraft were designed to only be filled once.  So, does corresive factor in here?  Depends upon what you are planning to do.

There is also the effects of the frozen hydrazine on valves and sensors.  If the valve that allows the hydrazine was damaged by the frozen state, how do you bypass that?  Do the sensorsstill read properly after being frozen.

All of this comes down to a spacecraft not being used in the way it was designed.  You would have to analyze the specifics (which we don't have) of the spacecraft to make a final determination of how it would respond.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/24/2011 08:09 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111125/497316493.html

Yet another failed attempt of ESA to contact the spacecraft
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/24/2011 08:21 pm
People on Novosti Kosmonavtiki forum say : Sun is not visible, so no signal...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/24/2011 08:21 pm
An English-language story about Rodionov's ravings is here:
Did US 'climate weapon' knock-out Russian probe?
http://rt.com/news/phobos-grunt-climate-weapon-129/
In particular don't miss the comments section.

If you yandex.ru the right terms you'll find
the story has gone viral in the Russian media, including in
official government newspapers [which didn't endorse it].
http://www.rg.ru/2011/11/24/kosmos-site-anons.html

Фобос-Грунт and  Николай Родионов

Russia Today strikes again. It would be funny but for the fact that people will take it seriously.

The Sea Based X-Band missile defense radar is based in Alaska, and I presume is normally stationed somewhere out around the Aleutians.

Fobos-Grunt also operates on X-band. Although the US would have no reason to sabotage F-G, I suppose accidentally hitting its receivers with too much power is not inconceivable, although really it sounds like the general being quoted is speculating wildly. Someone should ask him if he thinks the US should launch a shuttle mission to rescue F-G in order to gauge his credibility.

X-band is roughly 1000 times the frequencies that HAARP broadcasts. The 10 octaves gap is a night and day difference.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 11/24/2011 08:27 pm

Maybe someone who knows can answer this?

If they get the power problem fixed......can FG be turned into the sun to warm up the drop tank enough to use the fuel?


Near as I can tell, the tank is on the opposite end of the stack as the pv panels. This might make keeping the fuel liquid and the craft powered at the same time a problem. Then again, the torus-snapped tank looks slightly wider than the rest of the vehicle, so it's possible that it part of it will be in sunlight at all times, and freezing might not happen at all.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/24/2011 08:32 pm
If I remember right the Japanese Hayabusa lost its hydrazine when the tank froze and then thawed.  This resulted in leaks developing and the hydrazine migrated out through leaks as the pressure rose.
I think that was Nozomi, not Hayabusa.

Quote
All of this comes down to a spacecraft not being used in the way it was designed.  You would have to analyze the specifics (which we don't have) of the spacecraft to make a final determination of how it would respond.
Agreed 100%. We don't really know the the characteristics of the spacecraft or it's current condition, so it's hard see much point in guessing.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/24/2011 09:56 pm
Turns out it was both Hayabusa and Nozomi.  Hayabusa's hydrazine froze when the spacecraft sat on the asteroid for 1/2 an hour.  From re-reading old articles, the hydrazine apparently leaked inside the spacecraft components rather than venting outside.

Thanks for catching the Nozomi reference.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/24/2011 11:09 pm
Full diary of all contact attempts here:
http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Misc/PhobosGrunt1.php#log

Also this :
Quote
The deputy head of the Phobos-Grunt project chief scientist, Alexander Zakharov of the Space Research Institute, said the telemetry would show whether the spacecraft could be "reanimated" and used in another research mission.
He said that if the spacecraft is fully operational, the best scientific mission for it would be to study a near-earth asteroid.

http://en.ria.ru/science/20111124/168984266.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/24/2011 11:25 pm
The Sea Based X-Band missile defense radar is based in Alaska, and I presume is normally stationed somewhere out around the Aleutians.

SBX is currently in port at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from which it's prohibited from using the X-band radar for safety reasons.

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/16105886/special-report-exclusive-tour-of-the-sbx-radar

As a totally off-topic footnote, SBX has visited the Aleutians for a couple of weeks twice since (I think) 2005 and has never put into its nominal homeport of Adak. 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/25/2011 02:43 am
SBX is currently in port at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from which it's prohibited from using the X-band radar for safety reasons.

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/16105886/special-report-exclusive-tour-of-the-sbx-radar

Interesting. It was here in Seattle for several months having some work done, and I just presumed when it left they were going to actually put it on station. I guess they're not done spending money on it yet.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: woods170 on 11/25/2011 05:42 am
Please people. Stay on topic before Chris intervenes.  :D
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/25/2011 06:44 am
According to Russian press reports (quoting ESAs Rene Pishel), today's attempts from Perth were unsuccessful: http://ria.ru/science/20111125/497498141.html

A couple of these passes were high elevation, daytime so they should have been favorable.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jorge on 11/25/2011 07:53 am
It is a giant bomb, non starter for any manned servicing mission...
You and others here, nobody said anything about manned.

Its entirely possible that someone could come up with a makeshift way of boosting or closing the required delta-v gap by a simple propulsion module launched on one of many russias cheap small launchers, assuming other longevity problems could be solved and the probe can at least regain attitude hold capability.

This is obviously all very hypothetical, which is why i said "very remote" from the outset, but i'm betting Roscosmos will be evaluating every single way of salvaging whats possible out of their investment. The reported mission cost is $170M, so no small change.


I'm betting that if/when Roscosmos evaluates rescue/servicing options, they will not find one that costs less than building and launching another Phobos-Grunt, and will therefore quite sensibly reject rescue/servicing.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sandro on 11/25/2011 08:49 am
Hi Everyone

I was a silent reader of this very interesting thread so far. Now I would like to ask a question to the one of you with more experience. I don't wanna speculate more about the future of the mission, but rather on the actual problem.

1)

From Novosti was speculated, that FG might think that it is currently on the way to Mars. Therefore an special emergency mode might be active, which turns off the transmitter every time when not enough energy is available. Unfortunately I don't have a reliable source for that, but did I get this point right?


2)

From Ted Molczan, an very experienced satellite observer was determined, that the orbit decrease of FG behaved different than it would be expected of a dead satellite:

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0257.html

This lead to the speculation, that FG was doing attitude control by itself, maybe to orient itself to the sun.


3)

Latest analysis from Ted show that this (speculative) attitude control might have stopped around  November 21th 2011. From then on FG decays like expected of a dead (uncontrolled) satellite:

http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0291.html


4)

When comparing the contact attempts with FG and the phases when it was in daylight, then it seems to become evident, that it is not always possible to establish a contact when FG is in sunlight:

http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Misc/PhobosGrunt1.php#log

combined with the (sometimes unnamed sources) of positive or negative contacts.
 


==> So finally I could imagine, that FG is actually not (not anymore?) tracking the sun and therefore it's solar arrays are only by chance able to collect enough sunlight to leave the "emergency mode" and to switch on the transmitter..... Therefore each contact attempts would highly depend on the actual orientation of FG.


Since I'm not experienced at all, I would like to know from you what you think about this scenario? Do you think that is possible and if so, was there any similar case in the history with successful regain of the control?


Thanks in advance...


Cheers,

Sandro 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/25/2011 11:26 am
Latest from Ria Novosti: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ria.ru%2Fscience%2F20111125%2F497690314.html

Some of the telemetry decoded; telemetry came from  main computer; not emergency telemetry; no further contact; another attempt when spacecraft passes over Baikonur.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/25/2011 11:34 am
News update: Roscosmos: On-board computer "Phobos-Grunt" defective.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/20111125153852.shtml&usg=ALkJrhirnQiblLWaAVn9x6730SKw_BXEww

Note: Meaning could be lost in translation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/25/2011 11:43 am
Roscosmos could actually avoid badmouthing, wild speculation and translation errors if they would finally give up their ‘Cold War” mentality and hold press conferences with accurate press releases…
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Cbased on 11/25/2011 12:03 pm
News update: Roscosmos: On-board computer "Phobos-Grunt" defective.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/20111125153852.shtml&usg=ALkJrhirnQiblLWaAVn9x6730SKw_BXEww

Note: Meaning could be lost in translation.

Quite the opposite. This article says that the on-board computer is fine.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: geza on 11/25/2011 12:25 pm
Google translation is strange. The same Russian word was translated as "defective" in one sentence (and in the title) and as "working correctly" in an another sentence. Fortunately, the second one is the correct translation. Logically: if it was possible to communicate with the computer, then it is working.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/25/2011 12:47 pm
What I got from the very rough Google translation was that while the onboard computer is working correctly, the onboard control system is not.  The Google translation of the news item seems to indicate two separate technical systems.  Taking assumption and speculation a step further, this could indicate a possible hardware failure with another component of the system. 

“......information received indicates that the onboard computer control is working correctly...... (but) Onboard control system defective....”

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/20111125153852.shtml&usg=ALkJrhirnQiblLWaAVn9x6730SKw_BXEww
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/25/2011 12:53 pm
Probably best for a Russian-English speaker to let us know what they read it as, as I've also found google translator is only any good as a back up.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/25/2011 12:55 pm
News item:  Looks like ESA will wait until Monday before trying again.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://ria.ru/science/20111125/497887350.html&usg=ALkJrhhK2UqjuzrcjIXZ9tA4YT_d9A4zdQ
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/25/2011 01:01 pm
News item:  Looks like ESA will wait until Monday before trying again.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://ria.ru/science/20111125/497887350.html&usg=ALkJrhhK2UqjuzrcjIXZ9tA4YT_d9A4zdQ

In English.

http://en.rian.ru/science/20111125/169033219.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/25/2011 01:03 pm
Probably best for a Russian-English speaker to let us know what they read it as, as I've also found google translator is only any good as a back up.

I agree.  Another reason I find this thread so valuable and hence why I am directing my followers to it.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/25/2011 01:14 pm
News item:  Looks like ESA will wait until Monday before trying again.
And officially:

Quote
The next scheduled communication slots for ESA's Perth station are set for the night of 28 November, when it will again be allocated to support Phobos–Grunt.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEMQTNZW5VG_0.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: geza on 11/25/2011 01:23 pm
I can assure you that the Russian text says unequivocally that the system in question works. The text mention "computer" in one sentence and "complex" in the another. They are probably the same thing - if not, both of them are OK.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Gatewave on 11/25/2011 01:26 pm
Probably best for a Russian-English speaker to let us know what they read it as, as I've also found google translator is only any good as a back up.

Just to confirm after going through the Russian text the source (Anna Vedisheva) said that both on-board computer and controlling systems are functioning normally.

Confirming from my own translation as a Russian speaker.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/25/2011 01:33 pm
Probably best for a Russian-English speaker to let us know what they read it as, as I've also found google translator is only any good as a back up.

Just to confirm after going through the Russian text the source (Anna Vedisheva) said that both on-board computer and controlling systems are functioning normally.

So, it's beginning to look like a fault with the MPS?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Skylab on 11/25/2011 01:35 pm
Probably best for a Russian-English speaker to let us know what they read it as, as I've also found google translator is only any good as a back up.
This one seems to fare slightly better: http://www.online-translator.com

But I rely most on those able to translate on here, and thank them!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kukushk on 11/25/2011 01:36 pm
News update: Roscosmos: On-board computer "Phobos-Grunt" defective.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/20111125153852.shtml&usg=ALkJrhirnQiblLWaAVn9x6730SKw_BXEww

Note: Meaning could be lost in translation.

Here is my translation

Roscosmos: The Phobos-Grunt flight computer is in working condition

Telemetry data from the Russian space probe "Phobos-Grunt" have been decoded and the information obtained suggests the onboard computer is in working condition. This was reported by the Anna Vedisheva, press secretary of the Roscosmos chief.

[The Russian word "исправен" used here is ambiguous, because it means "in working order" but doesn't explicitly specify whether the computer is actually working at the moment.]

As a reminder to our readers, communications were established with the spacecraft from the Baikonur cosmodrome yesterday. On November 23, the Perth tracking station managed to communicate with the spacecraft from the fourth attempt.

The "Zenit-2SB" launch vehicle with Phobos-Grunt lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome on November 9. During the orbital insertion (sic!), an anomaly happened and the station remained stuck in the base orbit. At that moment, "Phobos-Grunt" was outside of the range of tracking stations. It is assumed that a technical defect was the cause.

"Phobos-Grunt" was supposed to fly to the Martian satellite Phobos. It is the first such launch in the past 15 years. The probe was supposed to investigate Phobos and deliver soil samples back to Earth. Apart from that, several investigations of Phobos and Mars were planned, both using remote sensing and in-situ experiments. Together with "Phobos-Grunt", the Chinese microsatellite" YH-1" was supposed to go to Mars. Phobos-Grunt was insured for 1.2 billion rubles.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/25/2011 01:43 pm
And a big welcome - and thanks - to Gatewave and Kukushk for the above!

Welcome to the site's forum! :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Gatewave on 11/25/2011 01:49 pm
According to this article in RIA news

http://www.ria.ru/science/20111125/497969656.html

ESA is going to give another go trying to establish communication tonight between 25 to 26th of Nov before they stop the attempts until Monday. At least some hope that extra time is given for further communication.
 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Gatewave on 11/25/2011 02:13 pm
And a big welcome - and thanks - to Gatewave and Kukushk for the above!

Welcome to the site's forum! :)

Thanks been following this thread on the forum quietly and thought to join up as this place is a great source of information and users who really know their stuff.

Question if I may, to establish open communication channel with the space craft in the X band with very narrow beam the space craft needs to be quite steady in its orbit without any movement in its X or Y axis correct?
Even a slight spin will basically break the communication line as the directional antenna will not be point down to earth at all time during these passes.
 
So just the fact that anyone was able to establish communication and downlink any data is an indication that the space craft is quite stable or even if spinning this spin rate is very slow, and perhaps because of this slow spin rate the repeated communication was not possible in the latest series of passes over the Perths station (antenna was not pointing down during the pass).

Could someone please confirm if this thought is logical?

Thanks
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/25/2011 04:01 pm
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEMQTNZW5VG_0.html
Quote
UPDATE 25.11 14:30 GMT - The next scheduled communication slot for ESA's Perth station is set for the night of 25 November, when it will again be allocated to support Phobos–Grunt.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: clongton on 11/25/2011 04:39 pm
Celebrations!!

Does anyone have any information regarding the "secondary" mission Chris spoke of and how much, if any, of the primary mission might be salvaged, assuming that the TMI burn works?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: spacelev on 11/25/2011 04:45 pm
Phobos-Grunt. 9.11.2011 00:16 (MSK).
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=10631&start=0 (http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=10631&start=0)

Illustrations of the "Phobos-Grunt"
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12418 (http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12418)

The technical part of the "Phobos-Grunt"
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12378 (http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12378)

Current state of Phobos-Grunt
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12401 (http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12401)

Yinghuo-1 - Chinese firefly
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12266 (http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12266)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: spacelev on 11/25/2011 04:53 pm
At the orbiter-forum figured interesting window on the route start Earth - gravmanevr Venus - gravmanevr the Earth - Mars with access to the orbit of Phobos.
(http://www.orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?p=317551&postcount=372 (http://www.orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?p=317551&postcount=372))

Check out March 12, 2012
The span of Venus June 26, 2012
The span of Earth April 27, 2013
Ascent to orbit Mars September 10, 2015

Should be enough fuel available  :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/25/2011 04:55 pm
But the spacecraft is not thermally configured for a Venus flyby
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Trouquel on 11/25/2011 05:19 pm
Some confirmations from an insider posted to Novosti Kosmonavtiki forum:

(verbatim translation from Russian)

"Confirmed that an emergency frame was received on November 23rd by a ground station in Perth (Australia) from onboard radiosystem of the cruise stage. This frame was not decoded successfully in Lavochkin (prime contractor of the mission). Confirmed that a similar frame was received by a ground station in Baikonur on November 24th. Since that moment any other attempts to communicate either from Baikonur or from Perth failed. The spacecraft keeps silence.

Analysis of the emergency frame didn't yield too much. The frame contained the status of some parts of the onboard radiosystem of the cruise stage, working voltages on buses of the radiosystem, temperatures of some parts of the radiosystem. It was also noted that the data bus is functional. The frame also contained the history of switching between the primary and backup transmitter. All this data didn't allow to analyse the contingency very much.

More, while simulating on a test bench various conditions for star tracker malfunctioning and receiving from it some invalid data, they couldn't reproduce mission disruption similar to what has occurred in orbit. Taking into account that circuits controlling the main engine unit are redundant.

Beside Russian tracking, Americans also formally confirmed stable Sun-tracking attitude of the spacecraft.

One of the possible cases being considered for the secondary emergency, communications restore and loss may be connected to the power supply configuration. After charging current from the solar panels drops and the batteries are discharged, chemical power supply (having capacity for almost half a day) is engaged and the batteries become disconnected. In this case the current will appear when the solar panels are sunlit and disappear in Earth shadow.

Taking into account the off-nominal behaviour of the spacecraft, the batteries don't get connected when the current from the solar panels reappears.

Attempts to communicate go on. Commands are being sent to downlink a telemetry frame from the onboard radiosystem (as done successfully before), to downlink telemetry from the flight computer, to switch on the batteries.

No one thinks about the flight to Mars. They hope as a minimum to raise the orbit and work with the spacecraft. As a maximum..."
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Trouquel on 11/25/2011 05:26 pm
Seems the data received so far (barely emergency frames) provides no clues for the reason why it didn't raise the apogee after the launch...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/25/2011 07:01 pm
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#11_25

According to reliable sources, ground controllers were continuing sending commands to Phobos-Grunt to downlink telemetry frames, as had been achieved earlier and, in addition, to downlink telemetry from the BKU flight control computer and commands to activate onboard rechargeable battery.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/25/2011 07:33 pm
I am sorry, I didn't read the latest posts here (and I guess many people already left the thread) ... I know that you were informed that ESA won't try until Monday...

http://ria.ru/science/20111125/497969656.html

... but RIA Novosti has announced that ESA has decided to make some communication attempts during the night between Friday and Saturday.

So... stay tuned.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/25/2011 07:49 pm
And a big welcome - and thanks - to Gatewave and Kukushk for the above!

Welcome to the site's forum! :)

Thanks been following this thread on the forum quietly and thought to join up as this place is a great source of information and users who really know their stuff.

Question if I may, to establish open communication channel with the space craft in the X band with very narrow beam the space craft needs to be quite steady in its orbit without any movement in its X or Y axis correct?
Even a slight spin will basically break the communication line as the directional antenna will not be point down to earth at all time during these passes.
 
So just the fact that anyone was able to establish communication and downlink any data is an indication that the space craft is quite stable or even if spinning this spin rate is very slow, and perhaps because of this slow spin rate the repeated communication was not possible in the latest series of passes over the Perths station (antenna was not pointing down during the pass).

Could someone please confirm if this thought is logical?

Thanks

The antenna in question is a low gain antenna. It has a very broad beam spread. In theory, you will still get a signal with a tumbling spacecraft, but it may be intermittent, because coverage isn't necessarily in every direction.

However, the fact that spotters who have watched for overhead passes have reported the apparent brightness of Fobos-Grunt doesn't change independently suggests it is not tumbling.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: clongton on 11/25/2011 07:51 pm
I am sorry, I didn't read the latest posts here (and I guess many people already left the thread) ... I know that you were informed that ESA won't try until Monday...

http://ria.ru/science/20111125/497969656.html

... but RIA Novosti has announced that ESA has decided to make some communication attempts during the night between Friday and Saturday.

So... stay tuned.

Thank you. The translation is much appreciated.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/25/2011 07:59 pm
In the avalanche of reports referring to more than a dozen tracking passes over several days, keeping them straight really requires somebody produce a common reference timeline so we can avoid confusion over delayed, repeated, garbled accounts of different or identical pass results.

Such a timeline should include the Phobos-Grunt orbit number per the NORAD TLEs, the Universal Time of the comm passes at which stations, including passes that were not worked, or for which no response was noticed.

With such a reference timeline available, and continuously updated, our contributions, questions, and cross-references can unambiguously latch onto specific events, and we may impose some order on the chaotic but rich and valuable bits that are swirling across our screens. Patterns may emerge.

Would this task be readily doable by some enthusiast in the audience?

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/25/2011 08:14 pm
Such a timeline should include the Phobos-Grunt orbit number per the NORAD TLEs, the Universal Time of the comm passes at which stations, including passes that were not worked, or for which no response was noticed.
Robert Christy is doing something along these lines: http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Misc/PhobosGrunt1.php#log
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/25/2011 11:00 pm
I'm betting that if/when Roscosmos evaluates rescue/servicing options, they will not find one that costs less than building and launching another Phobos-Grunt, and will therefore quite sensibly reject rescue/servicing.
Its a fairly safe bet.

However, if they could just do another Soyuz with Fregat upper stage ( which is basically FG propulsion module ) and another drop tank, with minimum hardware for docking/berthing/mating, and just use this as a extra delta-v module, that would probably not run them more than $30-40M, for "saving" a $170M total mission - and also saving Chinese first ever deep space probe.

Again, totally far out there, but not entirely impossible - assuming a ton of things, i.e. that electronics and attitude control of the probe can be made to work, that it can be moved to a stable ( MEO ? ) parking orbit etc etc.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/25/2011 11:29 pm
However, if they could just do another Soyuz with Fregat upper stage ( which is basically FG propulsion module ) and another drop tank, with minimum hardware for docking/berthing/mating, and just use this as a extra delta-v module, that would probably not run them more than $30-40M, for "saving" a $170M total mission - and also saving Chinese first ever deep space probe.
This is insane. Can we stop with the fantasy stuff ?

PG has no docking system, it's not designed to be serviceable. As far as we know, the Russians have no existing capability to robotically rendezvous and capture an uncooperative target, let alone hook up a new propulsion system. That would require development of an entirely new, specialized spacecraft.

Quote
but not entirely impossible
In the "doesn't violate the laws of physics as we know them" sense it's possible. In sense of something that people in the real world would do, it's not just impossible, it's complete nonsense. There's zero chance it would be attempted.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: clongton on 11/25/2011 11:45 pm
Have they determined what PG's orbital parameters are with sufficient accuracy to determine its rate of decay and likely re-entry date?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jorge on 11/26/2011 12:00 am
I'm betting that if/when Roscosmos evaluates rescue/servicing options, they will not find one that costs less than building and launching another Phobos-Grunt, and will therefore quite sensibly reject rescue/servicing.
Its a fairly safe bet.

It's an absolutely safe bet.

Quote
However, if they could just do another Soyuz with Fregat upper stage ( which is basically FG propulsion module ) and another drop tank, with minimum hardware for docking/berthing/mating, and just use this as a extra delta-v module, that would probably not run them more than $30-40M, for "saving" a $170M total mission - and also saving Chinese first ever deep space probe.

Again, totally far out there, but not entirely impossible - assuming a ton of things, i.e. that electronics and attitude control of the probe can be made to work, that it can be moved to a stable ( MEO ? ) parking orbit etc etc.

As hop wrote, the Russian automated rendezvous system (Kurs) is a cooperative system and requires transponders on the target vehicle in order to work. P-G also lacks any kind of docking hardware. Therefore it is possible to state, categorically, that it is impossible for the Russians to rescue P-G with the systems they have on hand.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/26/2011 12:10 am
Have they determined what PG's orbital parameters are with sufficient accuracy to determine its rate of decay and likely re-entry date?
No. These things are highly uncertain in the best of times, and PGs orbital behavior has been particularly odd. It does appear to be acting a bit more normally now. See http://www.satflare.com/track.php?q=phobos#LNEW

Anatoly Zak quotes Russian space forces predicting January or February: http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#11_24
Where's the Space Shuttle when we need her. Oh - sorry. :(
NASA wouldn't take a shuttle anywhere near PG. This is just about as big a fantasy as savuporo's post.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jorge on 11/26/2011 12:11 am
As hop wrote, the Russian automated rendezvous system (Kurs) is a cooperative system and requires transponders on the target vehicle in order to work. P-G also lacks any kind of docking hardware. Therefore it is possible to state, categorically, that it is impossible for the Russians to rescue P-G with the systems they have on hand.

Where's the Space Shuttle when we need her. Oh - sorry. :(

Seriously, we wouldn't have done it even if the shuttle was still flying. NASA would have been required to charge full-cost and there's no way the Russians would pay it. Plus the safety issues - the lack of sufficient hardware inhibits on the propulsion system would kill the idea right away, among many other issues such as EVA safety.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/26/2011 12:39 am
The only type of "rescue" or satellite servicing that seems like it might have a business case is something like ASTRO.  ASTRO was a pretty successful demonstration.  Doing remote refueling doesn't require a docking system, doesn't require humans or EVAs, and doesn't require the robot to do anything super-complex like working on Hubble.  I doubt that would be practical here even if they do get control over P-G, but it might be for other spacecraft, especially those in GEO where moving between objects requires very little delta-V and the spacecraft themselves don't use enormous quantities of fuel.  I could also see it being practical in the event that JWST is working beautifully and is running out of practical mission operational time only because of lack of fuel.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/26/2011 12:44 am
We've been over this rescue stuff before. Let's not go over it again folks.

Thanks.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/26/2011 02:10 am
Have they determined what PG's orbital parameters are with sufficient accuracy to determine its rate of decay and likely re-entry date?

IF the more normal decay behavior that began a few days ago continues, reentry around 5-15 January is predicted.  But, given PG's orbital antics to date, don't put money on that.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/26/2011 02:28 am
Have they determined what PG's orbital parameters are with sufficient accuracy to determine its rate of decay and likely re-entry date?

IF the more normal decay behavior that began a few days ago continues, reentry around 5-15 January is predicted.  But, given PG's orbital antics to date, don't put money on that.

Or does the end to the antics mean it has used up the fuel reserve in the system that has been keeping it sun pointed. If they recover it, that would be bad for prospects of any long term mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/26/2011 02:46 am
Found this info regarding the "power" interesting.

"Another mystery of erratic appearance and disappearance of communications from Phobos-Grunt was attempted to be explained by the architecture of the power supply system, SEP. In case if solar panels stop supplying power and the onboard rechargeable battery discharge, the SEP switches to chemical source of power, KhIT, with a (non-rechargeable) half-day supply of electricity. Under such circumstances, the main rechargeable battery would be switched off, however the probe's power supply grid would be powered up only when the solar panels are exposed to the Sun. Obviously, power supply would stop in the shadow. As a result of the spacecraft flying in the emergency mode, the rechargeable battery might be staying off-line even when the solar panels were supplying electricity. "

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#11_24
Anatoly Zak

I would put the command "deploy solar panels" followed by "recharge".  cover all bases.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Andy USA on 11/26/2011 02:54 am
We've been over this rescue stuff before. Let's not go over it again folks.

Thanks.

And those that ignored this have lost their posts.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 11/26/2011 03:06 am
So, assuming that the failure that prevented the original burn is identified and solved, what is the most likely future for this spacecraft, practically?

Will the Russians try to deorbit the vehicle over an uninhabited area, or send it higher into a graveyard orbit? I would like to think that some of the more plausible alternate proposals are being considered, (ie, waiting for the next window, finding a suitable NEO, etc) but I'd like to see what people here see as the most likely course of action on the part of the Russians.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: DaveS on 11/26/2011 03:09 am
ESA-Tweet just 1 minute ago:
"Today's web report will be updated shortly"
Sounds like upcoming important news at this time of the night in Europe, doesn't it?
The to-be-updated article:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEMQTNZW5VG_0.html
That particular tweet was sent some 13 hours ago. Here's the original from @esaoperations: http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations/status/140078366781997056
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/26/2011 03:24 am
So, assuming that the failure that prevented the original burn is identified and solved, what is the most likely future for this spacecraft, practically?

Will the Russians try to deorbit the vehicle over an uninhabited area, or send it higher into a graveyard orbit? I would like to think that some of the more plausible alternate proposals are being considered, (ie, waiting for the next window, finding a suitable NEO, etc) but I'd like to see what people here see as the most likely course of action on the part of the Russians.

I don't think the answer to this has changed in the last 10 pages of this thread.  First we don't know if the reason for the original burn failure can be solved or bypassed - in fact, no one here knows the reason.  Secondly we don't know how long a correction or bypass would take to develop.

Combine that with the lack of knowledge how much hydrazine is left and then add that we don't know how much power is available to the spacecraft and your answer is, we don't know enough to provide an answer to your question.  Once telemetry has been released (or at least a summary of the telemetry) there might be someone out here who could provide an educated guess but until then any definitive answer would be a random guess.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Hurrikansaison on 11/26/2011 03:33 am
ESA-Tweet just 1 minute ago:
"Today's web report will be updated shortly"
Sounds like upcoming important news at this time of the night in Europe, doesn't it?
The to-be-updated article:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEMQTNZW5VG_0.html
That particular tweet was sent some 13 hours ago. Here's the original from @esaoperations: http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations/status/140078366781997056

You´re more than right, Dave.
I apologize again.
I followed an interesting discussion the night PG was launched. As a result the person using the PhG_Reentry account on Twitter became something like recognized by experts. Clearly my mistake not reading well (PhG_Reentry tweeting a 13-hours-old information). I only saw ESA's logo and wrote.

If it is possible - @Andy or Chris - please delete my post.
SORRY!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 11/26/2011 03:57 am
I would put the command "deploy solar panels" followed by "recharge".  cover all bases.

The solar panels have already been deployed. From http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM4NEZW5VG_index_0.html they say that "after separation of the spacecraft and its modified Fregat stage from the launcher, controllers received signals confirming deployment of the solar panels."
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: MP on 11/26/2011 07:17 am
Wednesday's lead article on the home page sums it up pretty well.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-fobos-grunt-recovery-efforts-underway/


Excuse me, but why this article mentions "all of the previous 16 Russian missions to the Red Planet since the 1960s have failed"? Considering botn EN & RU Wikipedia articles, I can count 18 RU/SU launches toward Mars/Phobos, before Phobos-Grunt.

Maybe authors decided not to count Phobos 1 & Phobos 2 launches in 1998 as they were not to Mars itself, but to Phobos? Or did I miss something else?

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/26/2011 08:30 am
http://ria.ru/science/20111126/498487647.html

Again, ESA fails to contact P-G - more attempts on Monday.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/26/2011 01:14 pm
Have they determined what PG's orbital parameters are with sufficient accuracy to determine its rate of decay and likely re-entry date?

IF the more normal decay behavior that began a few days ago continues, reentry around 5-15 January is predicted.  But, given PG's orbital antics to date, don't put money on that.

Or does the end to the antics mean it has used up the fuel reserve in the system that has been keeping it sun pointed. If they recover it, that would be bad for prospects of any long term mission.

That's one possibility, but we really don't know what was causing the antics in the first place.  Presumably some loss of mass was involved, but just what that was and at what Isp is a matter of speculation.

Edit: Fix English.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 11/26/2011 02:17 pm
Wednesday's lead article on the home page sums it up pretty well.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/11/live-fobos-grunt-recovery-efforts-underway/


Excuse me, but why this article mentions "all of the previous 16 Russian missions to the Red Planet since the 1960s have failed"? Considering botn EN & RU Wikipedia articles, I can count 18 RU/SU launches toward Mars/Phobos, before Phobos-Grunt.

Maybe authors decided not to count Phobos 1 & Phobos 2 launches in 1998 as they were not to Mars itself, but to Phobos? Or did I miss something else?



You can also interpret 'failure' differently. Mars 5 met all of its objectives, it just stopped working after a few weeks. Mars 3 became the first object to transmit from the surface of Mars. Mars 6 sent the first direct measurements from within the atmosphere. Etc.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 11/26/2011 02:58 pm
Well it looks like Fobos-Grunt is being left behind with the successful launch today of the MSL Curiosity.

I feel bad for the Russian teams, and I hope they can salvage something before it's too late.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: TheFallen on 11/26/2011 03:16 pm
I hope Fobos-Grunt is able to accomplish some type of mission at this point...

And I find it ironic that Russian-made engines helped send Curiosity to Mars but wasn't able to get a Russian-made Mars spacecraft out of Earth orbit. That's unfortunate.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/26/2011 03:28 pm
Well it looks like Fobos-Grunt is being left behind with the successful launch today of the MSL Curiosity.

I feel bad for the Russian teams, and I hope they can salvage something before it's too late.

Yeah...

But there's a Russian instrument aboard Curiosity... So not all's lost for the Russian science
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rcoppola on 11/26/2011 03:46 pm
I hope Fobos-Grunt is able to accomplish some type of mission at this point...

And I find it ironic that Russian-made engines helped send Curiosity to Mars but wasn't able to get a Russian-made Mars spacecraft out of Earth orbit. That's unfortunate.
Well, they are Licensed Russian designs but the incredible success of this launch has much more to do with the level of excellence across all functions throughout NASA and ULA then any one component. There are reasons why the US is still the predominant space activities center and this mission is one of them...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/26/2011 03:48 pm
Hm... yes, the Russians obviously have a very strong sense of justice... You will find out that there will be a lot of talks about punishments after space failures... The same thing happened after the Proton-Briz and Progress rocket failures in August...

I don't think I can blame them...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Nickolai on 11/26/2011 03:50 pm
I hope Fobos-Grunt is able to accomplish some type of mission at this point...

And I find it ironic that Russian-made engines helped send Curiosity to Mars but wasn't able to get a Russian-made Mars spacecraft out of Earth orbit. That's unfortunate.
Well, they are Licensed Russian designs...

They are actually built in Russia, by Russian engineers and technicians (and yes they are Russian designs, ULA has a license to build them in the US but they have not yet exercised this option, preferring to buy them from Russia).
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: pippin on 11/26/2011 04:25 pm
I hope Fobos-Grunt is able to accomplish some type of mission at this point...

And I find it ironic that Russian-made engines helped send Curiosity to Mars but wasn't able to get a Russian-made Mars spacecraft out of Earth orbit. That's unfortunate.
Well, they are Licensed Russian designs but the incredible success of this launch has much more to do with the level of excellence across all functions throughout NASA and ULA then any one component. There are reasons why the US is still the predominant space activities center and this mission is one of them...

Ironically it's even the same engine family launching both probes.

And the reason the US is still doing most activities is also quite simple: the US still spends most money by far for spaceflight.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Trouquel on 11/26/2011 04:29 pm
I hope Fobos-Grunt is able to accomplish some type of mission at this point...

And I find it ironic that Russian-made engines helped send Curiosity to Mars but wasn't able to get a Russian-made Mars spacecraft out of Earth orbit. That's unfortunate.
Well, they are Licensed Russian designs...

They are actually built in Russia, by Russian engineers and technicians (and yes they are Russian designs, ULA has a license to build them in the US but they have not yet exercised this option, preferring to buy them from Russia).

Btw., to send future manned missions to the Moon and Mars NASA can also prefer to buy about twice more powerful engines (than RD-180 used on the 1st stage of Atlas V to launch MSL). It is third decade since these engines are being produced to launch various payloads, such as Fobos-Grunt.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/26/2011 04:35 pm
I think it is worth noting that the launch vehicles in both PG and MSL operated nominally.  The problems with PG appear to be exclusively due to issues on the S/C not the LV.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: MayaToitovna on 11/26/2011 07:02 pm
Please, let's not get into these kind of political discussions. Such comments can easily offend people (including me) and this is not the correct place for such discussions.

After the difficult years of 1989-2003, we should be proud that Russia has a space program at all. Yes, the likely loss of Fobos-Grunt is a big catastrophe. But the industry is still recovering (I'm actually happy with the current level of funding and government support) and it's understandable the first ambitious interplanetary mission after so many years is not successful. Hopefully they can learn from it and rebuild the probe.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/26/2011 08:24 pm
Please, let's not get into these kind of political discussions.

Welcome to the site's forum and I agree with this. I removed the offending quote from your post, because I also removed some of the political posts.

To all: No more politically focused posts on this troubleshooting update thread, or they will be deleted. This site always has, and always will be focused on the hardware. When it is unavoidable to go into politics - such as NASA's budget etc - then we have the space policy section.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/26/2011 08:29 pm
I think it is worth noting that the launch vehicles in both PG and MSL operated nominally.  The problems with PG appear to be exclusively due to issues on the S/C not the LV.

Sort of a philosophical thing, then right?  MSL was sent on its way to Mars by the LV, while PG was only put into very low Earth orbit by the LV and had to send itself on the way to Mars, which it failed to do.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: geza on 11/26/2011 08:51 pm

Sort of a philosophical thing, then right?  MSL was sent on its way to Mars by the LV, while PG was only put into very low Earth orbit by the LV and had to send itself on the way to Mars, which it failed to do.

Well, the point is that the Centaur upper stage was not modified for this specific mission; therefore the risk of its malfunctuion was much lower than in the case of the heaviliy modified Fregat stage of PG.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/26/2011 09:06 pm
Hm... yes, the Russians obviously have a very strong sense of justice... You will find out that there will be a lot of talks about punishments after space failures... The same thing happened after the Proton-Briz and Progress rocket failures in August...

I don't think I can blame them...
Can't blame them for being angry, but finding a scapegoat isn't likely to be an effective solution. The Russians (and Soviets before) have taken this sort of punitive approach for decades, yet it hasn't given them a better success rate than those who take a less punitive approach.

If everyone is trying to cover their own posterior, it's very difficult to get an objective account of the full chain of management, process and technical causes of the failure.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: cro-magnon gramps on 11/26/2011 09:22 pm
Hm... yes, the Russians obviously have a very strong sense of justice... You will find out that there will be a lot of talks about punishments after space failures... The same thing happened after the Proton-Briz and Progress rocket failures in August...

I don't think I can blame them...
Can't blame them for being angry, SNIP

I am sure the Russians will solve their internal problems as they think fit without any comment help from us;

so back to the point of this thread, what is happening in LEO with our favourite little lost SC - FG;

PS Welcome to the forum Maya, it can sometimes get a bit wild, but generally lots of good information and great posters, not to forget Chris and his Mods

Gramps
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rcoppola on 11/26/2011 09:47 pm
Yes, welcome,  as I was welcomed. Any comments made with regards to MSL are just expressions of excitement. I certainly wish both missions were on therir way and hope for a future when all space agencies from around the world come together and do what each does best to launch the first human mission to Mars. I have the upmost respect for the Russian space program and am certain great things await its' future. Sorry Chris, just wanted to clarify my thoughts...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/27/2011 02:18 am
But the industry is still recovering
But before 1989 (when they were not recovering) their success rate in interplanetary missions was equally bleak, I wish them well, I just wonder whether there is any sharp public discussion in Russia about the need to get to the bottom of it. In previously highly closed USSR it was impossible, at least now there should be opportunity over there to have some frank, public discussion on the topic.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/27/2011 02:23 am
But before 1989 (when they were not recovering) their success rate in interplanetary missions was equally bleak..
You forgot the highly successful Venera/Vega series.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/27/2011 02:32 am
You forgot the highly successful Venera/Vega series.
It was still bleak considering totality of their launches. At least in my definition of the word 'bleak'. Without Venera I might have said 'disastrous'?  ;)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: seshagirib on 11/27/2011 05:41 am
difficult to understand their string of failures with mars, when they succeeded with the much more challenging venus landers...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: John Santos on 11/27/2011 06:15 am
I'm sure this is a real long shot, but does anyone know if there is any chance of using a gravity assist (e.g. from the Moon or a second encounter with the earth) to provide the extra delta-V FG probably now needs, if the Russians do recover command and control of it?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/27/2011 06:16 am
difficult to understand their string of failures with mars, when they succeeded with the much more challenging venus landers...
Not sure about the 'more challenging' part. Closer to the Sun makes power equation a lot easier, also landing on a dense-atmosphere planet is inherently easier since the most complex part with retro-rockets goes away. I think Mars is definitely a lot tougher target, in navigating to it, entering its orbit and soft- landing on it. Many more pieces to go wrong, tougher tolerances.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 11/27/2011 06:28 am
difficult to understand their string of failures with mars, when they succeeded with the much more challenging venus landers...
Not sure about the 'more challenging' part. Closer to the Sun makes power equation a lot easier, also landing on a dense-atmosphere planet is inherently easier since the most complex part with retro-rockets goes away. I think Mars is definitely a lot tougher target, in navigating to it, entering its orbit and soft- landing on it.

True, since it usually requires TPS with parachutes, and powered descent. Landing on just about anything else usually only requires one or the other.

To be fair, however, many of their failures happened shortly after launch, or after landing on the surface.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/27/2011 06:43 am
Not sure about the 'more challenging' part. Closer to the Sun makes power equation a lot easier, also landing on a dense-atmosphere planet is inherently easier since the most complex part with retro-rockets goes away.
USSR also carried out a series of highly successful robotic and teleoperated lunar missions ( not interplanetary, i know ). In fact, to date, they are still the last ones to actually land on the moon.

So i doubt that the venusian dense atmosphere environment was somehow a factor for Venera's success.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 11/27/2011 10:18 am
Mission duration is the common factor with the Soviet unmanned successes.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/27/2011 11:36 am
But before 1989 (when they were not recovering) their success rate in interplanetary missions was equally bleak..
You forgot the highly successful Venera/Vega series.

Many Venus missions failed and at least six of them was because of problems with the escape stage.  Without waving the flag, I can say the United States is fortunate to have a fairly reliable and flexible booster in the Centaur.


Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: seshagirib on 11/27/2011 02:09 pm
difficult to understand their string of failures with mars, when they succeeded with the much more challenging venus landers...
Not sure about the 'more challenging' part. Closer to the Sun makes power equation a lot easier, also landing on a dense-atmosphere planet is inherently easier since the most complex part with retro-rockets goes away. I think Mars is definitely a lot tougher target, in navigating to it, entering its orbit and soft- landing on it. Many more pieces to go wrong, tougher tolerances.
my understanding is that the temperature & atmospheric pressure makes descent , landing and survival after landing for any length of time a real tough job @ venus.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: seshagirib on 11/27/2011 02:19 pm
Not sure about the 'more challenging' part. Closer to the Sun makes power equation a lot easier, also landing on a dense-atmosphere planet is inherently easier since the most complex part with retro-rockets goes away.
USSR also carried out a series of highly successful robotic and teleoperated lunar missions ( not interplanetary, i know ). In fact, to date, they are still the last ones to actually land on the moon.

So i doubt that the venusian dense atmosphere environment was somehow a factor for Venera's success.
agreed, and the only ones to return lunar samples by automated probes.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/27/2011 05:57 pm
difficult to understand their string of failures with mars, when they succeeded with the much more challenging venus landers...
my understanding is that the temperature & atmospheric pressure makes descent , landing and survival after landing for any length of time a real tough job @ venus.

That's the point, but for the opposite reasons.  The wonderfully successful Venera landers only had to last minutes before their relays went out of sight, and were designed to last just longer than that in the intense heat.  The dense atmosphere DID help with descent and landing.  All they had was a drag disk and a crash ring. Terminal velocity was low and they may not even have had parachutes.  Venus is an environment that favors ruggedness and brute force over subtlety and complexity.   
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/27/2011 06:03 pm
Many Venus missions failed and at least six of them was because of problems with the escape stage. Without waving the flag, I can say the United States is fortunate to have a fairly reliable and flexible booster in the Centaur.
Many of the missions failed in the early days (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lunar_probes) period, on both sides. But there were also a lot more frequent mission attempts. In the historical context, Venera ( and Luna , and Zond, and Lunokhod ) were a relatively successful series.

EDIT: i think there was a quip on zarya.info Phobos page before, something along the lines of "In the early days, after losing contact, PG would have been assigned a next number in the Cosmos- series and quickly and quietly forgotten"
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/27/2011 06:13 pm
Mission duration is the common factor with the Soviet unmanned successes.
You might have hit a nail on the head. Overall reliability and longevity of systems might be the underlying cause and it is more of a factor in missions to Mars. Only a few days ago some Russian space official complained (talking about Phobos-Grunt) that their satellites quit working usually within a year whereas a typical NASA satellite lasts 10 years or more.

Quote from: Comga link=topic=27289.msg833864#msg833864
Venus is an environment that favors ruggedness and brute force over subtlety and complexity.   
I agree, very well stated.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: FinalFrontier on 11/27/2011 08:23 pm
Well this is quite sad. Seems to me they have little to no chance of utilizing this spacecraft at this point. I wish them luck in continuing attempts to command the vehicle, but I do not think it will work or matter at this stage. Seems like they lost another one :( .
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: gospacex on 11/27/2011 08:31 pm
difficult to understand their string of failures with mars, when they succeeded with the much more challenging venus landers...

Soviet electronics had pathetic reliability record. They did manage to make one durable enough for Venus transit times, but anything longer than that never worked. Note total absence of Soviet missions to any destination farther than Mars.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/27/2011 10:46 pm
Aren't we due some new Perth tracking passes?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: tolis on 11/27/2011 10:53 pm
Hi All,

I'm a new user.

On the subject of Soviet successes on Venus vs mixed
success at Mars, perhaps the answer may be found in persistence
and timing. Soviet Russia kept shooting probes to Venus
at almost every launch window until 1984 simply because they could
afford to (not a capitalist system back then). Lessons learned
propagated forwards to the next attempt and eventually
this led to a string of successes (Veneras 9-16+Vega 1-2).

For Mars, things were different. There, the string of missions
was cut short at 1973, presumably before the technology had a chance
to mature.

Then, in 1989, when Phobos 1&2 were launched, the USSR was
already cracking at the seams (although the rest of the world did
not know about it). Apart from that, the Mars "learning curve" was
essentially starting from scratch. 

Since then, Russia has been trying to pick up where it left off
(Mars 96, P-G) but I suspect the solution is accept that past glories are
past and start again from scratch (or not far from it) with a modest but scientifically valuable mission.


         Tolis.
 

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/27/2011 10:57 pm
Aren't we due some new Perth tracking passes?
According to http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Misc/PhobosGrunt1.php#log Perth is taking a break to look after ESA missions.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Spacenick on 11/27/2011 11:35 pm
If the Russians were that bad at producing reliable electronics, how come the Russian ISS and Mir modules function that reliable? Is it the expertise in satellite design in general or has it to do with their lack of deep space competence that's at play here?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/27/2011 11:42 pm
If the Russians were that bad at producing reliable electronics, how come the Russian ISS and Mir modules function that reliable? Is it the expertise in satellite design in general or has it to do with their lack of deep space competence that's at play here?

The avionics boxes are in the inhabited volumes; and can and been replaced.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: DaveS on 11/27/2011 11:43 pm
If the Russians were that bad at producing reliable electronics, how come the Russian ISS and Mir modules function that reliable? Is it the expertise in satellite design in general or has it to do with their lack of deep space competence that's at play here?
Russian ISS/Mir hardware reliable? Not at all! I have lost count how many times Vozduk/Elektron in Zvezda has failed over and over again, only to be brought back to life thanks to a hard-working crew! Prior Expedition 1's arrival, Zarya had some battery failures that was fixed by a shuttle crew!

And Mir wasn't exactly much better!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Andy USA on 11/28/2011 01:48 am
Seriously, can we keep this on the spacecraft.

It's not about the Russian government, it's not about ISS. It's about Fobos Grunt.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/28/2011 08:24 am
It's not about the Russian government, it's not about ISS. It's about Fobos Grunt.

Well, in fairness, Andy, the reliability (or not) of the ISS Russian Segment's equipment might have a bearing on the success or failure of FG.

That said, I would agree that it is a bit too early for post-mortems, especially as all the information known is not yet in the public domain.  We have no way of knowing whether this was an electronic malfunction.  It could just as easily be mechanical.  For example defective fuel valves and/or tank pressurisation systems would be one way that could lead to the observed affects.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: John Duncan on 11/28/2011 09:32 am
We'll probably never know what happened.

With some of the new members this mission has attracted, it would be good time to start a thread on Russian spacecraft design, if there already isn't one.  There's a chance for some new perspectives on their program and I am very interested to hear about them.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/28/2011 11:16 am
I just noticed two visual observations described the color of the vehicle as 'orange'.

Here:

http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0308.html
http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0342.html

Do we have closeout photos of exterior surfaces that are orange [or gold] in hue?

Or are the observations of 'orange' connected with the color of stains from venting hydrazine [or from thruster plumes]? We saw that effect on Mir.

Has the reported color changed over the past two weeks? Let's go back and check.





Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/28/2011 11:21 am
An Interfax report on Nov28/0705 UT states that the Baykonur comm pass 'on Friday' was unsuccessful, according to 'a cosmodrome source'.

It also clarified that the next ESA attempt will not occur 'before the early hours of Tuesday'.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: glanmor05 on 11/28/2011 11:23 am
Seriously, can we keep this on the spacecraft.

It's not about the Russian government, it's not about ISS. It's about Fobos Grunt.

Absolutely agree!  I keep checking this thread for the "LIVE Troubleshooting Latest" to be met with a load of other stuff.

I appreciate that there isn't much (official) new information, I don't even mind hearing rumour regarding this mission, but this thread is sooooo off track it's unbelievable.

Edit - and now I've added to it.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: notsorandom on 11/28/2011 11:30 am
I just noticed two visual observations described the color of the vehicle as 'orange'.

Here:

http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0308.html
http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0342.html

Do we have closeout photos of exterior surfaces that are orange [or gold] in hue?

Or are the observations of 'orange' connected with the color of stains from venting hydrazine [or from thruster plumes]? We saw that effect on Mir.

Has the reported color changed over the past two weeks? Let's go back and check.
The pre-launch photographs I saw showed it covered in a gold foil or Mylar like material. There are other satellites that have an orangish hue to them which are covered in a similar material, Lacrosse 4 comes to mind.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/28/2011 01:06 pm
getting back in topic, according to the French newspaper "Le Monde", if contacts are re-established with F-G, it could be put in a high parking orbit between the Earth and the Moon, where it would wait for the 2013 window to open while engineers complete debugging its software.
http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2011/11/26/espoir-pour-la-sonde-russe-phobos-grunt_1609001_3244.html (in French, evidemment...)

this is the most sensitive proposal so far (and I discussed here first a few days ago ;)
I imagine F-G could be sent to fly by the moon like that old comm sat Asiasat 3 or Nozomi and be perturbed in a distant resonant orbit or even a solar orbit returning to fly by the moon and Earth in late 2013 and resume the original mission as planned. I guess this could be done with the available fuel. The only problem I see (beside the non-trivial need to re-establish full control over the probe) is that Russian hardware is not known for its reliability and 2 more years in space may be too much.
I hope that orbital mechanics gurus like Farquhar and Bellbruno will be working on this
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/28/2011 01:28 pm
getting back in topic, according to the French newspaper "Le Monde", if contacts are re-established with F-G, it could be put in a high parking orbit between the Earth and the Moon, where it would wait for the 2013 window to open while engineers complete debugging its software.
http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2011/11/26/espoir-pour-la-sonde-russe-phobos-grunt_1609001_3244.html (in French, evidemment...)

this is the most sensitive proposal so far (and I discussed here first a few days ago ;)
I imagine F-G could be sent to fly by the moon like that old comm sat Asiasat 3 or Nozomi and be perturbed in a distant resonant orbit or even a solar orbit returning to fly by the moon and Earth in late 2013 and resume the original mission as planned. I guess this could be done with the available fuel. The only problem I see (beside the non-trivial need to re-establish full control over the probe) is that Russian hardware is not known for its reliability and 2 more years in space may be too much.
I hope that orbital mechanics gurus like Farquhar and Bellbruno will be working on this

I am not an engineer, but the modified Fregat stage may not last that long in the extremes of outer space, especially the external propellant tank, which was supposed to be expended immediately and jettisoned.  I am unsure of the engineering and physics involved, but the fuel within that tank could potentially explode sitting in orbit that long creating additional space debris. 

At the expense of being a party-pooper, my personal opinion is that it coming back with a time frame calculated to be January 14 plus or minus 9 days.  If they can regain some control, it could be used to try and maneuver the craft such that it does not impact land or any populated areas.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/28/2011 01:41 pm

I am not an engineer, but the modified Fregat stage may not last that long in the extremes of outer space, especially the external propellant tank, which was supposed to be expended immediately and jettisoned.  I am unsure of the engineering and physics involved, but the fuel within that tank could potentially explode sitting in orbit that long creating additional space debris. 

At the expense of being a party-pooper, my personal opinion is that it coming back with a time frame calculated to be January 14 plus or minus 9 days.  If they can regain some control, it could be used to try and maneuver the craft such that it does not impact land or any populated areas.

While I agree with you in principal on the long term viability of drop tank, to get the the orbit described, the propellant in the drop tank would have to be used and jettison'd. So that is not an issue.

Of course the big question is, at this point, can the propellant in the drop tank still be used? Unlike the rest of the stage, what are the chances that the tank had extra insulation and heaters? What are the chances that it has already started freezing, if the probe is sun oriented with solar panels deployed that tank will at least be partially in shadow. It is not getting any solar heat.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/28/2011 01:43 pm
I just noticed two visual observations described the color of the vehicle as 'orange'.

Here:

http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0308.html
http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0342.html

Do we have closeout photos of exterior surfaces that are orange [or gold] in hue?

Or are the observations of 'orange' connected with the color of stains from venting hydrazine [or from thruster plumes]? We saw that effect on Mir.

Has the reported color changed over the past two weeks? Let's go back and check.






Jim, checking for color change is good.  Also seeing if the observation was near sunrise/sunset would provide a clue since spacecraft color can turn golden during some of that time.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/28/2011 01:48 pm

I am not an engineer, but the modified Fregat stage may not last that long in the extremes of outer space, especially the external propellant tank, which was supposed to be expended immediately and jettisoned.  I am unsure of the engineering and physics involved, but the fuel within that tank could potentially explode sitting in orbit that long creating additional space debris. 

At the expense of being a party-pooper, my personal opinion is that it coming back with a time frame calculated to be January 14 plus or minus 9 days.  If they can regain some control, it could be used to try and maneuver the craft such that it does not impact land or any populated areas.

While I agree with you in principal on the long term viability of drop tank, to get the the orbit described, the propellant in the drop tank would have to be used and jettison'd. So that is not an issue.

Of course the big question is, at this point, can the propellant in the drop tank still be used? Unlike the rest of the stage, what are the chances that the tank had extra insulation and heaters? What are the chances that it has already started freezing, if the probe is sun oriented with solar panels deployed that tank will at least be partially in shadow. It is not getting any solar heat.

Don't forget the other extreme - overheating.  Overheating hydrazine is not good either.  It can expand to a point where the tank will rupture or at least blow the burst disc.  In the best case, this can reduce the prop available.  In worst case the hydrazine finds some leaking nitrogen tetroxide.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: seshagirib on 11/28/2011 02:04 pm
getting back in topic, according to the French newspaper "Le Monde", if contacts are re-established with F-G, it could be put in a high parking orbit between the Earth and the Moon, where it would wait for the 2013 window to open while engineers complete debugging its software.
http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2011/11/26/espoir-pour-la-sonde-russe-phobos-grunt_1609001_3244.html (in French, evidemment...)

this is the most sensitive proposal so far (and I discussed here first a few days ago ;)
I imagine F-G could be sent to fly by the moon like that old comm sat Asiasat 3 or Nozomi and be perturbed in a distant resonant orbit or even a solar orbit returning to fly by the moon and Earth in late 2013 and resume the original mission as planned. I guess this could be done with the available fuel. The only problem I see (beside the non-trivial need to re-establish full control over the probe) is that Russian hardware is not known for its reliability and 2 more years in space may be too much.
I hope that orbital mechanics gurus like Farquhar and Bellbruno will be working on this
does this mean that the current problem is found to be due to buggy software, or is the reference to a potential new s/w upload for a modified mission?

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/28/2011 02:12 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111128/500470708.html


Oh... people, we're gearing for another round of communication attempts!!! Stay tuned!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: plutogno on 11/28/2011 02:43 pm
does this mean that the current problem is found to be due to buggy software, or is the reference to a potential new s/w upload for a modified mission?

the article says:

Quote
This delay should enable a verification of all the software on board, that engineers already knew to be the weakness of the mission.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: seshagirib on 11/28/2011 03:13 pm
does this mean that the current problem is found to be due to buggy software, or is the reference to a potential new s/w upload for a modified mission?

the article says:

Quote
This delay should enable a verification of all the software on board, that engineers already knew to be the weakness of the mission.

looks like they atleast suspect the s/w for the current problems....though it is very difficult to understand, why they would launch anything with a known "weakness"
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/28/2011 03:35 pm
http://ria.ru/science/20111128/500470708.html


Oh... people, we're gearing for another round of communication attempts!!! Stay tuned!

right, and an Interfax account quoted at
http://vz.ru/news/2011/11/28/542172.html
says it was to occur at about 17:00 Moscow time --
that is, 13:00 GMT, or several hours ago.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: gregzsidisin on 11/28/2011 03:36 pm
does this mean that the current problem is found to be due to buggy software, or is the reference to a potential new s/w upload for a modified mission?

the article says:

Quote
This delay should enable a verification of all the software on board, that engineers already knew to be the weakness of the mission.

looks like they atleast suspect the s/w for the current problems....though it is very difficult to understand, why they would launch anything with a known "weakness"

It wouldn't be the first time something was pushed to launch due to political and/or time pressures.  And Fobos Grunt had already missed one previous Martian launch cycle.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SimonFD on 11/28/2011 03:48 pm
does this mean that the current problem is found to be due to buggy software, or is the reference to a potential new s/w upload for a modified mission?

the article says:

Quote
This delay should enable a verification of all the software on board, that engineers already knew to be the weakness of the mission.

looks like they atleast suspect the s/w for the current problems....though it is very difficult to understand, why they would launch anything with a known "weakness"

Maybe "weakness" should read "relative weakness" i.e. compared to anything else in the mission. Doesn't mean to say it's ready to fall over...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: gregzsidisin on 11/28/2011 03:52 pm
Hi All,

I'm a new user.

On the subject of Soviet successes on Venus vs mixed
success at Mars, perhaps the answer may be found in persistence
and timing. Soviet Russia kept shooting probes to Venus
at almost every launch window until 1984 simply because they could
afford to (not a capitalist system back then). Lessons learned
propagated forwards to the next attempt and eventually
this led to a string of successes (Veneras 9-16+Vega 1-2).

For Mars, things were different. There, the string of missions
was cut short at 1973, presumably before the technology had a chance
to mature.

Then, in 1989, when Phobos 1&2 were launched, the USSR was
already cracking at the seams (although the rest of the world did
not know about it). Apart from that, the Mars "learning curve" was
essentially starting from scratch. 

Since then, Russia has been trying to pick up where it left off
(Mars 96, P-G) but I suspect the solution is accept that past glories are
past and start again from scratch (or not far from it) with a modest but scientifically valuable mission.


         Tolis.
 



Good analysis.  I suspect a problem is that a simpler mission wouldn't enough of a "spectacular", and that is why this first mission in 15 years, coming after a previous 15-year-ish gap, was so ambitious.  Logic would suggest restarting more simply, but life, people and politics have their own logics.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/28/2011 04:00 pm
getting back in topic, according to the French newspaper "Le Monde", if contacts are re-established with F-G, it could be put in a high parking orbit between the Earth and the Moon, where it would wait for the 2013 window to open while engineers complete debugging its software.
http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2011/11/26/espoir-pour-la-sonde-russe-phobos-grunt_1609001_3244.html (in French, evidemment...)

this is the most sensitive proposal so far (and I discussed here first a few days ago ;)
I imagine F-G could be sent to fly by the moon like that old comm sat Asiasat 3 or Nozomi and be perturbed in a distant resonant orbit or even a solar orbit returning to fly by the moon and Earth in late 2013 and resume the original mission as planned. I guess this could be done with the available fuel. The only problem I see (beside the non-trivial need to re-establish full control over the probe) is that Russian hardware is not known for its reliability and 2 more years in space may be too much.
I hope that orbital mechanics gurus like Farquhar and Bellbruno will be working on this
does this mean that the current problem is found to be due to buggy software, or is the reference to a potential new s/w upload for a modified mission?



I'll be the first to say software is usually left for last and then everyone is suprised when there are software failures.

However...We have very little information to say this is *the* problem.  Instead I'd translate this to mean the engineers before launch knew that they would still be testing software on the way to Mars (not unusual for unmanned spacecraft) and could then uplink the now-validated software on the way to Mars.

However, I don't take any of that article to mean that the cause of PG non-communicating in low Earth orbit was a software problem.  It might have been, it might not be - the data isn't available at least to us and possibly the flight team.

This article falls under the "jumping the gun" category considering no one can reliably talk with the spacecraft yet, let alone have it do anything.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/28/2011 04:10 pm
A bunch of ESA tweets all sent at the same time:


esaoperations ESA Operations
ESA teams to get confirmation tomorrow from #phobosgrunt controllers if orbit-raising commands successful #perth #estrack
26 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

esaoperations ESA Operations
Tonight, #perth station to forward Russian commands to boost #phobosgrunt higher - to provide better visibility for ground stations
26 minutes ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
Five possible communication slots tonight #perth-#phobosgrunt running from 18:21-03:47GMT. 4 will be used #estrack
26 minutes ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
In collab w/Russian mission control, #ESA teams at #esoc are planning #phobosgrunt contact tonight via #perth #estrack
27 minutes ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
No #phobosgrunt contact attempts made over the weekend due to #perth station preparations for upcoming launch support to another mission
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lars_J on 11/28/2011 04:20 pm
I just noticed two visual observations described the color of the vehicle as 'orange'.

Here:

http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0308.html
http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0342.html

Do we have closeout photos of exterior surfaces that are orange [or gold] in hue?

Or are the observations of 'orange' connected with the color of stains from venting hydrazine [or from thruster plumes]? We saw that effect on Mir.

Has the reported color changed over the past two weeks? Let's go back and check.


Look at the closeout photos. PB was covered in 'gold' film - http://i.space.com/images/i/13187/i02/mars-phobos-grunt-spacecraft-8.jpg?1320690684

It would be more surprising if the spacecraft did NOT look orange.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/28/2011 04:20 pm
A bunch of ESA tweets all sent at the same time:


esaoperations ESA Operations
ESA teams to get confirmation tomorrow from #phobosgrunt controllers if orbit-raising commands successful #perth #estrack
26 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

esaoperations ESA Operations
Tonight, #perth station to forward Russian commands to boost #phobosgrunt higher - to provide better visibility for ground stations
26 minutes ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
Five possible communication slots tonight #perth-#phobosgrunt running from 18:21-03:47GMT. 4 will be used #estrack
26 minutes ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
In collab w/Russian mission control, #ESA teams at #esoc are planning #phobosgrunt contact tonight via #perth #estrack
27 minutes ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
No #phobosgrunt contact attempts made over the weekend due to #perth station preparations for upcoming launch support to another mission

Well, that's one very brute-force method of checking out the computer system, the propulsion system and the power system all in one shot.  It will also indicate if the hydrazine / nitrogen tetroxide tanks are still in good shape.  If not...

Should we assume that the ground controllers therefore now know the reason that the first burn to Mars did not take place on launch day?

Andy

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/28/2011 04:23 pm
News update:  European experts will try to raise the orbit of the "Phobos-Grunt".  Includes times ESA will attempt comms.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://www.ria.ru/science/20111128/500725015.html&usg=ALkJrhhFZJf0-C6WsVBWqSI4uPivtkav4g
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: notsorandom on 11/28/2011 05:08 pm
The communications opportunities in Perth today between 18:21-03:47GMT will be during the local night there, correct? Has the theory that FG can only communicate while in sunlight been confirmed or ruled out yet?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/28/2011 05:16 pm
Perth is GMT+8 so if the times stated as 18:21-03:47 GMT are correct, this would be 02:21 to 11:47 Perth local time, so it looks like some of these would be during the day.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/28/2011 05:50 pm
Well, that's one very brute-force method of checking out the computer system, the propulsion system and the power system all in one shot.  It will also indicate if the hydrazine / nitrogen tetroxide tanks are still in good shape.  If not...
This does seem like a rather desperate attempt. There's also the question of guidance: one of the suspected causes of the initial failure was the star trackers not working, or a least not getting a fix at the required time. I wonder if they can do a burn on sun sensors and IMU only ?

Still, they don't have a heck of a lot to lose. If it works, they buy a bunch of time, more sunlight, and longer com windows. If the propulsion system is dead, they aren't going anywhere anyway.

One the subject of color, here's some pictures posted on the NK forum:
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12418

The propulsion module was also covered in foil http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/phobos-grunt-preparations.jpg

A poster on the seesat-l list suggested that flaring behavior could be used to determine orientation: http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0342.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/28/2011 05:55 pm
We don't really know if the telemetry received told them anything useful yet. Maybe it did.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Blackstar on 11/28/2011 06:18 pm
(Note: the Lavochkin presentation is included below. That's where the graphics showing the Russians' overly-ambitious planetary exploration plans are from.)


http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1980/1

Red Planet blues
by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, November 28, 2011

This past week, like a coma patient who suddenly moves a finger, Fobos-Grunt finally gave some signs of life. But chances are still good that the spacecraft will fall to Earth in a few months, and it is already producing hyperventilating news reports about the toxic meteorite.

However, the Fobos-Grunt story took an ominous turn soon afterwards with comments from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. “Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness,” Medvedev told reporters during an interview. “It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty.” That would have been bad enough, but Medvedev continued: “I am not suggesting putting them up against the wall like under Josef Vissarionovich (Stalin), but seriously punish either financially or, if the fault is obvious, it could be a disciplinary or even criminal punishment,” he said.

The Russians are currently 1 for 19 at Mars, which you’d think would convince them to pick a different planet, like Venus, where they’ve been more successful. In contrast, NASA has been amazingly successful at Mars, with three spacecraft currently operating there and another (knock on wood) on the way. But it is stupid for the United States to gloat over the Fobos-Grunt failure, and we can only hope that the Russians will be smart in how they recover from this stumble. They could start by learning from past American experience and failures.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/28/2011 06:21 pm
Anybody know the planned burn TIME?

If so, where will burn be in relation to ISS?

After the tank is jettisoned it will vent excess prop and will briefly be a very good observation target from the ground and from ISS.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/28/2011 06:32 pm
(Note: the Lavochkin presentation is included below. That's where the graphics showing the Russians' overly-ambitious planetary exploration plans are from.)


http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1980/1

Red Planet blues
by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, November 28, 2011


That was a very good read, not least because it deals with a question most of us would want addressing - such as what do they do next....possible cooperation and competition.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/28/2011 06:54 pm
Anybody know the planned burn TIME?

If so, where will burn be in relation to ISS?

After the tank is jettisoned it will vent excess prop and will briefly be a very good observation target from the ground and from ISS.


don't "they" need to inform someone before they go to the highest orbit?
This lack of information is what bothers me.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/28/2011 06:54 pm
Well, that's one very brute-force method of checking out the computer system, the propulsion system and the power system all in one shot.  It will also indicate if the hydrazine / nitrogen tetroxide tanks are still in good shape.  If not...
This does seem like a rather desperate attempt. There's also the question of guidance: one of the suspected causes of the initial failure was the star trackers not working, or a least not getting a fix at the required time. I wonder if they can do a burn on sun sensors and IMU only ?

Still, they don't have a heck of a lot to lose. If it works, they buy a bunch of time, more sunlight, and longer com windows. If the propulsion system is dead, they aren't going anywhere anyway.

One the subject of color, here's some pictures posted on the NK forum:
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12418

The propulsion module was also covered in foil http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/phobos-grunt-preparations.jpg

A poster on the seesat-l list suggested that flaring behavior could be used to determine orientation: http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0342.html

It could be a risky attempt as well.  If they don't have positive control of the spacecraft and there is an issue with its orientation, an orbit-raising maneuver could exacerbate its decaying orbit and bring it down sooner.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/28/2011 06:58 pm
What kind of orbit would they be shooting for ? Just a slight raise to buy more time ?
Current orbit tracking here (http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Misc/PhobosGrunt2.php)

and here (http://www.n2yo.com/?s=37872)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/28/2011 07:01 pm
Quote
JimO link=topic=27289.msg834230#msg834230 date=1322508101]

don't "they" need to inform someone before they go to the highest orbit?
This lack of information is what bothers me.


Technically, under the Outer Space Treaty the Russian Federation is responsible for the space activities surrounding the space craft, and if this maneuver could potentially create a hazard in the outer space environment they would be mandated to consult with the international community.  However, over the years this requirement has been somewhat ignored by the United States, the Russian Federation and China in favor of "Cold War rules."  Still depending on the interpretation, it is debatable whether they would be required to inform the international community of what they are attempting.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Blackstar on 11/28/2011 07:08 pm
(Note: the Lavochkin presentation is included below. That's where the graphics showing the Russians' overly-ambitious planetary exploration plans are from.)


http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1980/1

Red Planet blues
by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, November 28, 2011


That was a very good read, not least because it deals with a question most of us would want addressing - such as what do they do next....possible cooperation and competition.

Thank you. Unfortunately, I think they are headed for trouble. That's because of several things. First, Medvedev's comments are exactly the kind of thing that sends people running. If you are a young engineer/scientist in their space program, barely making a living, and suddenly the president of your country is joking about shooting you, would you want to stay where you are or start sending your resume to ESA colleagues?

Second, their proposed future plans (just look at those slides--33 missions in 8 years!) are totally unrealistic. That indicates that this is a program that is not grounded in reality. They really need to get much better focused. But that may not be possible given all their other problems.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/28/2011 07:20 pm

don't "they" need to inform someone before they go to the highest orbit?
This lack of information is what bothers me.


Not really.  who would they inform
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/28/2011 07:26 pm

don't "they" need to inform someone before they go to the highest orbit?
This lack of information is what bothers me.


Not really.  who would they inform

Arquilians, of course.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/28/2011 07:39 pm
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/content/news.shtml

According to Interfax, today Russian specialists have contacted Phobos-Grunt, but failed to obtain telemetry.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Longhorn John on 11/28/2011 08:07 pm
Come on you naughty spacecraft, start talking clearly!! :)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: tolis on 11/28/2011 08:28 pm
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/content/news.shtml

According to Interfax, today Russian specialists have contacted Phobos-Grunt, but failed to obtain telemetry.


Does that mean they, in fact, have failed to contact it?

Tolis.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/28/2011 08:34 pm
I have no idea, frankly..

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#11_28

A ground station in Baikonur was to have its first opportunity to contact Phobos-Grunt around 17:00 Moscow Time for about seven-eight minutes. However the spacecraft would be in the sunlight for only about half of that pass.

... so I ask- maybe a beep?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/28/2011 08:41 pm
Does that mean they, in fact, have failed to contact it?
Given an Nth hand report through the Russian press, that's certainly possible. OTOH it could also mean they received some response that didn't include telemetry: E.g. carrier but not data, or link broke up before they could actually get telemetry.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: tolis on 11/28/2011 08:46 pm
ok, acknowledging receipt of uplinked commands but not
actually sending back any data. Well, from what i read
it's supposed to try to raise its orbit following commands
from the ground; perhaps there is no time for downlink anyway.
 
One sign of orbit raising would be if it's late on subsequent
overhead passes as predicted from various parts of the world. It probably
doesn't have much margin for any engine burn in the wrong direction.
That would be Mars 96 all over again.

Does someone have any idea which propulsion system is to be used?

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/28/2011 08:50 pm

Does that mean they, in fact, have failed to contact it?

Tolis.

Let's get Larson's take on that

(http://s3.hubimg.com/u/209666_f260.jpg)

---  CHAS

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/28/2011 08:58 pm
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/content/news.shtml

According to Interfax, today Russian specialists have contacted Phobos-Grunt, but failed to obtain telemetry.


Does that mean they, in fact, have failed to contact it?

Tolis.

We can only go by what is reported since we have nobody here who is directly in contact with the controllers.  So, does "contacted Phobos-Grunt" mean they sent it a signal but didn't hear a response or does it mean we sent a signal and the response was a simple tone or carrier signal with no telemetry?  Don't know.

As far as this burn is concerned, I suspect they would just do a +X LVLH burn in the direction of the orbital velocity.  Not really a targeted burn, just adding velocity (which will raise the orbit).  I supposed the attitude control system could also do the burn but that would leave less prop for later attitude control (if there is a later).

That they still can't get reliable communications (no telemetry in this instance) implies that they are still having power problems based on this and the other passes.  For a simple +x burn they could do that in the sunlit part of an orbit while passing over Baikonur or Austrialia to attempt to get around any power issues. 

But we really don't know much other than someone at ESA thinks the Russians are attempting to send a burn command to the spacecraft and that something happened that prevented Baikonur from getting telemetry from the spacecraft.  Everything else is speculation.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/28/2011 08:58 pm
ok, acknowledging receipt of uplinked commands but not actually sending back any data.
Please understand, I was just giving one possible interpretation of  "contacted, didn't receive telemetry". I am not making any claim about what actually happened.

As far as planned burn goes, I don't think the publicly available information is sufficient to make any meaningful speculation. We don't know much about the state of the spacecraft, we don't know what the Russians got from the telemetry they did receive, we don't know what sort of burn they are trying to do.

The ESA statements indicate that they did not expect an immediate indication of success from their attempts to uplink the burn commands.

What a sad situation that our best source of information is ESAs twitter feed  :-\
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: tolis on 11/28/2011 09:05 pm
Funny!


Moving on to the sphere of the speculative for a moment, I wonder
if one can actually command the sample return segment to
separate from the rest of the stack and fire its rocket motor
as an engineering experiment. If all else fails and the thing is about to reenter
(or if regular two-contact is established but the upper stage or main engine
are not usable for some reason) it may turn out to be the only useful in-orbit
activity from the mission. In any case, that segment weighs about
300 kg as I recall (wet mass) so getting rid of it increases the rest of the spacecraft's DV capability (F=ma).

It's *speculative*.

Tolis.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/28/2011 09:08 pm
FWIW, to me "contacted but no telemetry" means that they 'poked' the probe with a signal and there was a 'squawk' of radio noise back but nothing that is usable data.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: tolis on 11/28/2011 09:16 pm
ok, acknowledging receipt of uplinked commands but not actually sending back any data.
Please understand, I was just giving one possible interpretation of  "contacted, didn't receive telemetry". I am not making any claim about what actually happened.

As far as planned burn goes, I don't think the publicly available information is sufficient to make any meaningful speculation. We don't know much about the state of the spacecraft, we don't know what the Russians got from the telemetry they did receive, we don't know what sort of burn they are trying to do.

The ESA statements indicate that they did not expect an immediate indication of success from their attempts to uplink the burn commands.

What a sad situation that our best source of information is ESAs twitter feed  :-\

Indeed, I do understand and sympathise.

Information, information, my kingdom for some information..

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/28/2011 09:19 pm
Weather permitting, observers in northern WA / southern BC have a chance to get the scoop on any successful orbit raising maneuver.

Per http://www.satflare.com/track.php?q=phobos#MAP there's a good pass over Vancouver around Tue, 29/11/2011 01:18 UTC (Mon, 28/11/2011 17:18 local) and another around Wed, 30/11/2011 01:12 UTC (Tue, 29/11/2011 17:12)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/28/2011 09:21 pm
(Note: the Lavochkin presentation is included below. That's where the graphics showing the Russians' overly-ambitious planetary exploration plans are from.)


http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1980/1

Red Planet blues
by Dwayne A. Day
Monday, November 28, 2011


That was a very good read, not least because it deals with a question most of us would want addressing - such as what do they do next....possible cooperation and competition.

Thank you. Unfortunately, I think they are headed for trouble. That's because of several things. First, Medvedev's comments are exactly the kind of thing that sends people running. If you are a young engineer/scientist in their space program, barely making a living, and suddenly the president of your country is joking about shooting you, would you want to stay where you are or start sending your resume to ESA colleagues?

Second, their proposed future plans (just look at those slides--33 missions in 8 years!) are totally unrealistic. That indicates that this is a program that is not grounded in reality. They really need to get much better focused. But that may not be possible given all their other problems.

Keep in mind that looking for someone to blame is not unique to Russian management. There is a tough discernment to figure out how to get rid of genuinely incompetent people without culling those who are competent but did not have the resources and or experience (of which they're gaining a lot of the latter right now) to succeed. So I agree a witch hunt is one of the worst possible responses.

The usual result is you find a complex chain of failure involving relatively subtle oversights or dealing with limited time and money involving large numbers of people in multiple groups - there often is not one person or group to blame for a failure, but because the powers that be have decided someone will be punished, they ultimately make a nearly arbitrary choice that closely resembles punishment of the innocent, as codified in the Six phases of project management (http://"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_phases_of_a_big_project").

Anyways, I still see comments, even news editorials, condemning NASA for not doing bloodletting in the wake of Challenger, Columbia, Mars Climate Orbiter, Mars Polar Lander, etc. Even more fierce are those with political ties, like the Solyndra debacle.

I really want to disagree with you that Russia probably should not simply build another Fobos-Grunt, but I reluctantly concede you make a compelling point about their over-ambition in the context of reviving a dormant industry. Fobos-Grunt is a really cool mission concept. I really want to see it happen. But it is also quite complex.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/28/2011 11:15 pm
Keep in mind that looking for someone to blame is not unique to Russian management.
Agreed but can you imagine if NASA had comparable string of failures? There would be calls to disband NASA, public outcry for wasted funds, cartoons in the newspapers, comedians would have a field day, etc. Punishing individuals would take a secondary importance to getting to the bottom of the larger issues like how NASA does business, what are the underlying causes, etc, etc. There would be congressional investigations, other independent investigations, hearings, testimonies, reports, reviews, everything in public view. Nothing of the kind is happening in Russia even though theoretically they have so called 'democracy'. I don't hear Duma (Russian parliament) members calling for anything of the sort, in fact I don't hear a squeak. Therefore I am afraid apart from some personel changes (which are normal everywhere) there will be little change of any substance, ultimately business will be as usual.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: edkyle99 on 11/29/2011 12:44 am
Keep in mind that looking for someone to blame is not unique to Russian management.
Agreed but can you imagine if NASA had comparable string of failures? ...

You're being facetious, right?  You do remember 14 lost astronauts?  Two lost orbiters?  An out of focus Hubble?  More than one lost Mars probe - one due to metric/imperial unit confusion?  Etc?  The investigations that uncovered management and engineering incompetence?  Not to mention the massively costly DoD mission failures of the late 1990s and program failures of the 2000s, etc.

 - Ed Kyle
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 11/29/2011 12:50 am
Keep in mind that looking for someone to blame is not unique to Russian management.
Agreed but can you imagine if NASA had comparable string of failures? ...

You're being facetious, right?  You do remember 14 lost astronauts?  Two lost orbiters?  An out of focus Hubble?  More than one lost Mars probe - one due to metric/imperial unit confusion?  Etc?  The investigations that uncovered management and engineering incompetence?  Not to mention the massively costly DoD mission failures of the late 1990s and program failures of the 2000s, etc.

 - Ed Kyle

All true, and probably enough said on that topic here. Let's keep on track.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/29/2011 12:52 am
You do remember 14 lost astronauts?
17, right?

I do remember that, I do remember even reading extensive reports, recommendations, etc. In fact I still have the full Columbia report on my desk with all the Scott Hubbard's famous foam-shooting experiments. Do we ever see a comparable report from Russians? So what's exactly your point, sorry I don't follow.  ::)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChrisC on 11/29/2011 01:06 am
All true, and probably enough said on that topic here. Let's keep on track.

Yes, please.

Again.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/29/2011 01:23 am
Might I suggest those OT comments go here….

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27404.msg834080
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 11/29/2011 01:43 am
Yes, good work RS - let's keep this thread clear of food fights. Won't delete anything, the redirect from RS is all we need.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Svetoslav on 11/29/2011 07:18 am
http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501202381.html

We've been informed that the attempts to raise the orbit of P-G have failed...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/29/2011 08:39 am
http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501202381.html

We've been informed that the attempts to raise the orbit of P-G have failed...

What is really important to know is: did the probe receive and acknowledge the instructions? If yes, then the problem is elsewhere.  If not, then the likelihood of an electronic/control system failure has increased.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Apollo-phill on 11/29/2011 10:51 am
Are there no on-orbit sats that would allow transmission of commands towards F-G more frequently eg a TDRS type sat ?


Just a thought..

A-P
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 11/29/2011 10:57 am
Are there no on-orbit sats that would allow transmission of commands towards F-G more frequently eg a TDRS type sat ?

Wrong band.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/29/2011 12:45 pm
Can any of our fluent Russian-speakers who are watching the NK and other blogs on Fobos-Grunt provide any summaries of what is known about three items:

1. What exactly IS the orbit-raising plan? Presumably it is just the first of the two planned insertion burns from Flight Day 1, the one that depletes and drops the toroid aft propellant tank complex. But specifically, what was the commanded ignition time? This can tell us how they are planning to shape the orbit on future maneuvers. It also can help us alert ground observers who may be able to witness the plume [or its absence] and the tank propellant venting.

2. What if anything has been learned about vehicle status from the short bursts of telemetry?

3. What is the speculation about the remarkable "apogee creep" exhibited for several days early in the mission, and hypothetically attributed to propellant venting, thruster firing, or some combination? The apparent cessation of this effect shortly before radio contact was first established may be a significant clue about vehicle status, but how has it been interpreted?

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/29/2011 12:59 pm
Are there no on-orbit sats that would allow transmission of commands towards F-G more frequently eg a TDRS type sat ?

The answer is probably 'no'.  The problem is that FG works on the X-Band; I doubt that any comm relay sats use that high frequency as it is exclusively used for interplanetary comms.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: MP99 on 11/29/2011 01:06 pm
3. What is the speculation about the remarkable "apogee creep" exhibited for several days early in the mission, and hypothetically attributed to propellant venting, thruster firing, or some combination? The apparent cessation of this effect shortly before radio contact was first established may be a significant clue about vehicle status, but how has it been interpreted?

If the sat is only using RCS for that portion of the orbit in sunlight, could that apply some bias that happened to circularise the orbit?

As the orbit precesses, perhaps the bias shifted such that it then stopped raising the perigee? Might explain why it stopped.

If the precession continues long enough, maybe the opposite will start to happen?

cheers, Martin
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 11/29/2011 02:08 pm
Are there no on-orbit sats that would allow transmission of commands towards F-G more frequently eg a TDRS type sat ?


Just a thought..

A-P
The Soviets used to have such a network called Luch, but it fell out of service after the Cold War. The Russians are planning to rebuild the system, however, and if I recall, the first launch is scheduled for December 11th. I'm not sure that it is capable of transmitting X-band, however.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/29/2011 02:09 pm
For those who were earlier commenting about how the PG software still needed validation, I mentioned this was not unusual for an unmanned spacecraft.  Usually (at least with recent spacecraft) only the early cruise software is tested and validated before launch and then the rest is uplinked on the way to the destination.

This articicle describes what is going on with the Curiousity software:

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av028/111128cruise/

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/29/2011 02:14 pm
Are there no on-orbit sats that would allow transmission of commands towards F-G more frequently eg a TDRS type sat ?


Just a thought..

A-P
The Soviets used to have such a network called Luch, but it fell out of service after the Cold War. The Russians are planning to rebuild the system, however, and if I recall, the first launch is scheduled for December 11th. I'm not sure that it is capable of transmitting X-band, however.

As I recall it was not reliable when it was used with Mir.  The new Luch has Ku-Band and S-Band antennas for telecommunications along with P-Band and L-Band for geonavigation relay, according to a very unofficial source.

X-Band is used for interplanetary spacecraft so there would be no reason to have it on a relay satellite.  Optical relay would be a much more useful function for a satellite with an interplanetary spacecraft, but I digress.



Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SiberianTiger on 11/29/2011 02:20 pm
Can any of our fluent Russian-speakers who are watching the NK and other blogs on Fobos-Grunt provide any summaries of what is known about three items:

1. What exactly IS the orbit-raising plan? Presumably it is just the first of the two planned insertion burns from Flight Day 1, the one that depletes and drops the toroid aft propellant tank complex. But specifically, what was the commanded ignition time? This can tell us how they are planning to shape the orbit on future maneuvers. It also can help us alert ground observers who may be able to witness the plume [or its absence] and the tank propellant venting.

No information or even informed speculations on that, except for what the ESA representatives told.

2. What if anything has been learned about vehicle status from the short bursts of telemetry?

From NK (http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=845868#845868 (http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=845868#845868)):

Quote
Analysis of the emergency frame from the cruise stage was not too fruitful. It contained:

    * Status of several specific devices from the radio assembly itself;
    * Working voltages on the assembly's buses;
    * Temperature readings in severals spots of the assembly;
    * Confirmation of nominal state of the bus for data exchange with the CPU;
    * History track of switching between the primary and emergency transmitters.

3. What is the speculation about the remarkable "apogee creep" exhibited for several days early in the mission, and hypothetically attributed to propellant venting, thruster firing, or some combination? The apparent cessation of this effect shortly before radio contact was first established may be a significant clue about vehicle status, but how has it been interpreted?

That was perigee creep, not apogee creep. Posters at NK speculated it might happen due to:
* An error in interpretation of TLE data, not taking into account perigee argument's precession into higher latitude where Earth is bulged less;
* Regular repeating of prograde attitude taking, ullage and main thruster start sequence, broken each time short of burning the main engine;
* A disturbance introduced by leak from a propellant or pressured gas tank;
* A disturbance introduced by leak from a blown up battery.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SiberianTiger on 11/29/2011 02:31 pm
The Soviets used to have such a network called Luch, but it fell out of service after the Cold War. The Russians are planning to rebuild the system, however, and if I recall, the first launch is scheduled for December 11th. I'm not sure that it is capable of transmitting X-band, however.

No, only C and Ku band.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/29/2011 02:32 pm
* A disturbance introduced by leak from a blown up battery.

That is the first I have seen mention of that possibility, can you provide more on this?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Confusador on 11/29/2011 02:34 pm
The Soviets used to have such a network called Luch, but it fell out of service after the Cold War. The Russians are planning to rebuild the system, however, and if I recall, the first launch is scheduled for December 11th. I'm not sure that it is capable of transmitting X-band, however.

As I recall it was not reliable when it was used with Mir.  The new Luch has Ku-Band and S-Band antennas for telecommunications along with P-Band and L-Band for geonavigation relay, according to a very unofficial source.

X-Band is used for interplanetary spacecraft so there would be no reason to have it on a relay satellite.  Optical relay would be a much more useful function for a satellite with an interplanetary spacecraft, but I digress.

One of the things that occurred to me watching MSL was that it had a video feed all the way up past TMI so that they could watch spacecraft sep; I doubt that would have been possible without TDRSS.  That doesn't affect anything now with F-G, of course, but I suspect that if the new Luch had been operational then they would have designed the communication system differently, so that they could have gotten telemetry all the way through.  Since they couldn't the data down even if they wanted to, there didn't seem to be any reason to design it with an antenna for use in LEO, and here we are.

Again, none of that is germane to the current attempts at troubleshooting, but it does give me hope that the fact that they are replacing Luch (albeit slowly) may allow the avoidance of this problem on future probes.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/29/2011 02:36 pm
Interesting...so there is a separate transmitter for safe mode along with a backup single-use battery which had a 1/2 day supply when new. 

From reading the original article it looks like what was received were "emergency frames" not regular telemetry which is why there was so little information.

A battery explosion would explain a lot - it all goes back to a power issue of some type causing all of these problems.  The battery would vent.  The only thing it wouldn't explain is why there wasn't more damage in that instance.

It seems very strange to try to "do a burn" when all you've received are a few emergency frames of data.  Not really planned but more, "if you're listening start your burn".  It has a feeling of despiration from the outside looking in.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/29/2011 02:43 pm


One of the things that occurred to me watching MSL was that it had a video feed all the way up past TMI so that they could watch spacecraft sep; I doubt that would have been possible without TDRSS. 

That wasn't through TDRSS, but a ground station.
ELV's use TDRSS for telemetry.  Video thru TDRSS would require a pointing antenna, that is why a ground station is used, it is only a few hundred miles away.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/29/2011 02:47 pm
Keep in mind that up until the last 10-15 years, the use of video cameras on a rocket or to watch separation wasn't done, even though the first TDRS was launched in 1983. 

Video is usually done on UHF and small ground terminals, not with TDRS.  Remember for video TDRS requires a Ku-Band dish with pointing accuracy.  So that isn't very practical

However UHF is not difficult to implement.  So, if the Russians had wanted to have a video feed on PG, it could have been done.

However, most engineers will tell you that a properly designed telemetry system with the proper measurements makes video redundant at best.  It was useful for determining if any shedding events occurred for Shuttle since there was no way to "measure" those events, despite some "science fair projects" that attempted to.  So, video was useful there.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SiberianTiger on 11/29/2011 02:49 pm
* A disturbance introduced by leak from a blown up battery.

That is the first I have seen mention of that possibility, can you provide more on this?

Not really, it's difficult to search for sunken posts at NK. Somebody came up with a speculation that a shirt circuiting might cause a battery to blow up, and subsequent outgassing caused some influence on the orbit's shape.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Stan Black on 11/29/2011 03:57 pm
The Soviets used to have such a network called Luch, but it fell out of service after the Cold War. The Russians are planning to rebuild the system, however, and if I recall, the first launch is scheduled for December 11th. I'm not sure that it is capable of transmitting X-band, however.

As I recall it was not reliable when it was used with Mir.  The new Luch has Ku-Band and S-Band antennas for telecommunications along with P-Band and L-Band for geonavigation relay, according to a very unofficial source.

X-Band is used for interplanetary spacecraft so there would be no reason to have it on a relay satellite.  Optical relay would be a much more useful function for a satellite with an interplanetary spacecraft, but I digress.

One of the things that occurred to me watching MSL was that it had a video feed all the way up past TMI so that they could watch spacecraft sep; I doubt that would have been possible without TDRSS.  That doesn't affect anything now with F-G, of course, but I suspect that if the new Luch had been operational then they would have designed the communication system differently, so that they could have gotten telemetry all the way through.  Since they couldn't the data down even if they wanted to, there didn't seem to be any reason to design it with an antenna for use in LEO, and here we are.

Again, none of that is germane to the current attempts at troubleshooting, but it does give me hope that the fact that they are replacing Luch (albeit slowly) may allow the avoidance of this problem on future probes.

What about Garpun 14F136 Kosmos 2473?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/29/2011 04:58 pm
News item: ESA will try to contact "Phobos-Grunt" from station in the Canary Islands.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501636996.html&usg=ALkJrhgpHeUSu-RWxRP8lV6A0zs-WQR4lg

Link to original Russian language page:

http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501636996.html

ESA have made the same uplink feed horn mod to the dish in the Canary Islands as the have done in Perth.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/29/2011 05:31 pm
News item: ESA will try to contact "Phobos-Grunt" from station in the Canary Islands.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501636996.html&usg=ALkJrhgpHeUSu-RWxRP8lV6A0zs-WQR4lg

ESA have made the same uplink feed horn mod to the dish in the Canary Islands as the have done in Perth.


Thanks for spotting the story and passing it on. Would you mind also putting a link to the original Russian story, in the future!  Thanks!

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/29/2011 06:46 pm
News item: ESA will try to contact "Phobos-Grunt" from station in the Canary Islands.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501636996.html&usg=ALkJrhgpHeUSu-RWxRP8lV6A0zs-WQR4lg

ESA have made the same uplink feed horn mod to the dish in the Canary Islands as the have done in Perth.

Thanks for spotting the story and passing it on. Would you mind also putting a link to the original Russian story, in the future!  Thanks!

Isn't that the original link embedded in the address:  http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501636996.html ?
I can't verify because foreign sites are blocked here.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/29/2011 06:48 pm
News item: ESA will try to contact "Phobos-Grunt" from station in the Canary Islands.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501636996.html&usg=ALkJrhgpHeUSu-RWxRP8lV6A0zs-WQR4lg

ESA have made the same uplink feed horn mod to the dish in the Canary Islands as the have done in Perth.

Thanks for spotting the story and passing it on. Would you mind also putting a link to the original Russian story, in the future!  Thanks!

Isn't that the original link embedded in the address:  http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501636996.html ?
I can't verify because foreign sites are blocked here.

Yes, that is how it works.  Since that is blocked hope this is ok with Chris.  will put up some of the translation from that page:

 "ESA informed the mission control center" Phobos-soil "that team to raise the orbit passed last night, had not been implemented . specialists ESA is now preparing for alternative methods of communication using 15-meter antenna station network ESTRACK in Maspalomas, "- said in a statement published microblog center. "

not sure how to take the translated material for posting.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/29/2011 07:25 pm
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations

Quote
esaoperations ESA Operations
ESA teams at #ESOC have received request from #PhobosGrunt mission controllers to uplink orbit-boosting commands again tonight via #Perth
3 hours ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
More details on #ESA activities in support of #PhobosGrunt mission control later. Teams on all sides working with #goodwill & #dedication.
4 hours ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
Timeslots avilable for sending Russian telecommands to #phobosgrunt tonight via #Perth & in daytime via #Maspalomas, once ready
4 hours ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
ESA's #Maspalomas station being modified w/feedhorn antenna similar to what enabled #Perth to establish #PhobosGrunt contact last week
4 hours ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
Teams at #ESA/ESOC now prep'ing alternate communication possibility using #ESTRACK 15m station at #Maspalomas (Spain)
4 hours ago

esaoperations ESA Operations
ESA informed by #PhobosGrunt controllers that last night's orbit-boosting commands did not execute #Perth
4 hours ago
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/29/2011 07:28 pm


One of the things that occurred to me watching MSL was that it had a video feed all the way up past TMI so that they could watch spacecraft sep; I doubt that would have been possible without TDRSS. 

That wasn't through TDRSS, but a ground station.
ELV's use TDRSS for telemetry.  Video thru TDRSS would require a pointing antenna, that is why a ground station is used, it is only a few hundred miles away.

To add to Jim's post, if you look back at the full launch video, you will see that there were long periods of the 2nd stage burn during which no video was provided. Instead we had the animation based on telemetry.

The PAO called out loss and acquisition by several ground stations during the launch. I forget at the moment which one covered the video feed of spacecraft separation.

Interestingly, there was some TDRSS telemetry dropout for that launch, but that's another topic.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/29/2011 08:01 pm
Ralf Vandebergh has imaged PG in orbit:
https://twitter.com/ralfvandebergh
http://freeimagehosting.nl/pics/f26360f4153456d76e71c530c943f447.jpg
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/29/2011 08:07 pm
Do we have a reference picture to compare that to? Does not look like the solar panels deployed, does it?

Edit: Compared to this image without the drop tank?
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/images/spacecraft/planetary/mars/phobos_grunt/checks/fg_fairing_31_40_1.jpg
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/29/2011 08:28 pm
Do we have a reference picture to compare that to?
You can find various illustration of pg in it's flight configuration at
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=12418 and
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_2011.html

It should look like this http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/nk/forum-pic/FG/Phobos-Grunt-hi.jpg but covered in gold foil.
Quote
Does not look like the solar panels deployed, does it?
Difficult to tell, if they were mostly edge on, we wouldn't see much of them.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Vladi on 11/29/2011 08:32 pm
If the top of the spacecraft is bottom left, then the arrays are open - otherwise there shouldn't be the faint bluish glow there. However what is sticking from after the toroidal droptank if my interpretation is correct?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/29/2011 08:33 pm
Isn't that the original link embedded in the address:  http://ria.ru/science/20111129/501636996.html ?
I can't verify because foreign sites are blocked here.

Yes, that is how it works.  Since that is blocked hope this is ok with Chris.  will put up some of the translation from that page:

What I meant was that it is blocked at my facility for internet security reasons. Others should be able to do so.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 11/29/2011 08:40 pm
If the top of the spacecraft is bottom left, then the arrays are open - otherwise there shouldn't be the faint bluish glow there.
Faint bluish glow would be (could be) there even with arrays closed, I say the resolution of the photo is simply insufficient to form any opinion on the state of those arrays.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 11/29/2011 09:23 pm
Do we have a reference picture to compare that to? Does not look like the solar panels deployed, does it?

Edit: Compared to this image without the drop tank?
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/images/spacecraft/planetary/mars/phobos_grunt/checks/fg_fairing_31_40_1.jpg

glad you said it first.....was my thinking when looking at it.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: scpc on 11/29/2011 09:24 pm
It is wonderful to have an image, kudos to Ralf Vandebergh.  However, even though the resolution is poor,  I’m sure it will be of use to those with the ability and experience to work out the spacecrafts orientation.   However, from my untrained eye, if the top of the spacecraft is bottom left in the image, it does appear that something has separated, perhaps the external tank (image top right), or it could just be tricks of light and shadow.  I hope we will know more soon.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/29/2011 09:47 pm


One of the things that occurred to me watching MSL was that it had a video feed all the way up past TMI so that they could watch spacecraft sep; I doubt that would have been possible without TDRSS. 
That wasn't through TDRSS, but a ground station.

Diego Garcia, If I understood the commentary correctly.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 11/29/2011 09:54 pm
However, from my untrained eye, if the top of the spacecraft is bottom left in the image, it does appear that something has separated, perhaps the external tank (image top right), or it could be tricks of light and shadow.  I hope we will know more soon.
Keep in mind that parts of the spacecraft in shadow will almost certainly not show up at all, while small, highly reflective parts may appear even though they are too small to resolve. (edit: and atmospheric distortion can be significant too)

If the solar arrays are deployed, a substantial part of the rest of the vehicle may be shadowed. In that case, the odd thing hanging off the left right may just be a part that happens to escape the shadow.

A rough 3d model with appropriate lighting could be helpful. The approximate sun-spacecraft-observer geometry ought to be easy to work out. One should be able to get reasonable dimensions from http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/nk/forum-pic/FG/Phobos-Grunt-hi.gif


edit:
Here's an interpretation on Anatoly Zak's site http://www.russianspaceweb.com/images/spacecraft/planetary/mars/phobos_grunt/flight/ground_rv_1.jpg (the image is Ralfs, but I'm not sure if the interpretation is his)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/30/2011 12:02 am
edit:
Here's an interpretation on Anatoly Zak's site http://www.russianspaceweb.com/images/spacecraft/planetary/mars/phobos_grunt/flight/ground_rv_1.jpg (the image is Ralfs, but I'm not sure if the interpretation is his)

Well deployed solar panels would explain why the top part is not Gold.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 11/30/2011 01:55 am
How about the left array (in the picture) still folded and the right array deployed?  The left array is the "downward" appendage while the right array isn't visible because it is deployed (or it's shadowed).

Half-power situation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 11/30/2011 02:39 am
Don't know if this is accurate, but according to https://twitter.com/#!/PhG_Reentry (https://twitter.com/#!/PhG_Reentry)

Quote
NASA associated radio telescopes, according to policy, are unable to assist with Phobos-Grunt as it contains a Chinese sub-satellite.

Does anyone know if this is true?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 11/30/2011 05:44 am
OK, I've enlarged an enhanced the photo of PG. I believe the two round bumps to the right of the image are the extra tanks added to the modified Fregat stage. The light blob to the right of this might be a portion of the toroidal tank. The middle and left are hard to work out. The central portion looks like the lander, but then where are the solar arrays? I've also attached a rotated photo of PG on the ground which is very roughly in the right orientation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rweede on 11/30/2011 06:08 am
OK, I've enlarged an enhanced the photo of PG. I believe the two round bumps to the right of the image are the extra tanks added to the modified Fregat stage. The light blob to the right of this might be a portion of the toroidal tank. The middle and left are hard to work out. The central portion looks like the lander, but then where are the solar arrays? I've also attached a rotated photo of PG on the ground which is very roughly in the right orientation.

Is it possible the solar arrays are the two light grey blobs, one at the very left of the picture and the other to the lower right of that? The first extends "into" the picture and away from the camera and the second extends in the direction of the camera.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: iamlucky13 on 11/30/2011 07:02 am
edit:
Here's an interpretation on Anatoly Zak's site http://www.russianspaceweb.com/images/spacecraft/planetary/mars/phobos_grunt/flight/ground_rv_1.jpg (the image is Ralfs, but I'm not sure if the interpretation is his)

If the lighting is from the lower right as shown in his image, that seems to make sense to me.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Archibald on 11/30/2011 07:15 am
Quote
It is a weapon to be used against aliens who have hollowed out Mars's moon, Phobos, to create a space station. Russia has been waging an interplanetary cold war against these aliens for the past 40 years and this explains the incredibly low success rate of the country's missions to Mars - a record of failure so marked that it has been dubbed the 'Mars curse
Slap his forehead - I knew it. I saw rumours on the internet. The exact story is told by Wikipedia
Quote
1960: Artificial Phobos hypothesis

In 1960, Singer commented in an article in Astronautics on the hypothesis of Iosif Shklovsky (later mentioned in a 1966 book by Carl Sagan and Shklovsky)[25] that the orbit of the Martian moon Phobos suggests that it is hollow, which implies it is of artificial origin. Singer wrote: "My conclusion there is, and here I back Shklovsky, that if the satellite is indeed spiraling inward as deduced from astronomical observation, then there is little alternative to the hypothesis that it is hollow and therefore martian made. The big "if" lies in the astronomical observations; they may well be in error. Since they are based on several independent sets of measurements taken decades apart by different observers with different instruments, systematic errors may have influenced them.".
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: docmordrid on 11/30/2011 09:32 am
Dunno if this will help at all, but I loaded the P-G image into an editor and boosted the color channels etc.  Also boosted the background levels to see if any outlines popped out.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 11/30/2011 09:43 am
And here's another explanation of the image on NK: http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=848970#848970 (http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=848970#848970)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: docmordrid on 11/30/2011 10:12 am
Took that rotation of a color version, did a Gaussian blur, played with the levels to the minimum where the dish would be visible and got this....

THIS IMAGE IS A SIMULATION, NOT Phobos-Grunt.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Apollo-phill on 11/30/2011 10:20 am
esaoperations on twitter has said:-

".....ESA teams at #ESOC will use 15m tracking station at #Maspalomas, Spain, to send Russian commands to #phobosgrunt ~14:30GMT today (Wednesday)....."


A-P
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/30/2011 11:00 am

This morning's NOVOSTI report 06:08 gmt
http://www.ria.ru/science/20111130/502246244.html

Latest predicted entry date last week in December
http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0381.html

Georgiy Grechko on reasons for space failures:
http://kp.ru/online/news/1029895/ and
http://infox.ru/science/universe/2011/11/30/Gryechko__potyerya__.phtml

LONG bizarre article in a military trade weekly,
The Mission -- To Shoot Down ‘Fobos’: However, Russia Has With its Own Hands Deprived Itself of All Available Anti-Satellite Weapons
http://vpk-news.ru/articles/8388
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/30/2011 11:35 am
Quote
Georgiy Grechko on reasons for space failures:
http://kp.ru/online/news/1029895/ and
http://infox.ru/science/universe/2011/11/30/Gryechko__potyerya__.phtml

Main reason: lack of people. Space industry workers are either over 60, or younger than 30, others could not be paid enough to work there. The last time a spacecraft as complicated as F-G was launched here was over 25 years ago. It was a whole generation of people changed and not replaced. There was no continuity. Previously systematic launches done every two years, then a long break from using the technology. All other nations did more, while today Russia has to start from scratch.

Quote
LONG bizarre article in a military trade weekly,
The Mission -- To Shoot Down ‘Fobos’: However, Russia Has With its Own Hands Deprived Itself of All Available Anti-Satellite Weapons
http://vpk-news.ru/articles/8421
Is this the right link? This one is a history of Plesetsk and Angara program, not weapons...
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/angara.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/30/2011 11:53 am
Quote
Georgiy Grechko on reasons for space failures:
http://kp.ru/online/news/1029895/ and
http://infox.ru/science/universe/2011/11/30/Gryechko__potyerya__.phtml

Main reason: lack of people. Space industry workers are either over 60, or younger than 30, others could not be paid enough to work there. The last time a spacecraft as complicated as F-G was launched here was over 25 years ago. It was a whole generation of people changed and not replaced. There was no continuity. Previously systematic launches done every two years, then a long break from using the technology. All other nations did more, while today Russia has to start from scratch.

Quote
LONG bizarre article in a military trade weekly,
The Mission -- To Shoot Down ‘Fobos’: However, Russia Has With its Own Hands Deprived Itself of All Available Anti-Satellite Weapons
http://vpk-news.ru/articles/8421
Is this the right link? This one is a history of Plesetsk and Angara program, not weapons...
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/angara.html

I was just going to post the same thing.  Interesting to say the least, but considering all the flak the Russian Federation gave the United States when it intercepted USA-193 it makes sense that they wouldn't start publicly lamenting the fact that they can't do the same for one of their own spacecraft.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/30/2011 12:13 pm
http://www.vz.ru/news/2011/11/30/542857.html
Quote
F-B continues to lose altitude. Orbit is now 209x307km, while it was 209x342km after the launch. Orbit time is 20-30s faster.
Last night three attempts to communicate with F-B (from Canaries) , as well as 3 attempts to send command to raise orbit (from Australia) all failed.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JohnFornaro on 11/30/2011 12:33 pm
OK, I've enlarged an enhanced the photo of PG.

Whoah.  It's clearly "passive cooperative"!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: John Duncan on 11/30/2011 12:58 pm
Looking at the fine job of photomanipulation there, I'd say the extra tanks are gone.  Maybe we'll get a better image from a different sun angle.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/30/2011 01:05 pm
Two new frames, and more information (in English) from Ralf Vandebergh in thread below (scroll to bottom):
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=10631&start=10635
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 11/30/2011 01:10 pm
Latest predicted entry date last week in December
http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0381.html


That may be due to a glitch in the data: Space Track had just issued two TLEs with an identical epoch but noticeably different mean motions and eccentricities.  I suspect that confused SatEvo, which had been holding pretty steady on mid-January for several days. We'll see over the next day or two.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/30/2011 01:16 pm
Is this the right link? This one is a history of Plesetsk and Angara program, not weapons...
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/angara.html

My bad -- here it is:
http://vpk-news.ru/articles/8388
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/30/2011 01:21 pm
Looking at the fine job of photomanipulation there, I'd say the extra tanks are gone. 

Don't be too sure --

1. They really are fairly small and flush against the bottom.

2. If not attached, where ELSE could they be? No indications of any objects in nearby orbits.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 11/30/2011 01:27 pm
Took that rotation of a color version, did a Gaussian blur, played with the levels to the minimum where the dish would be visible and got this....

Wow, that's fantastic work.  I see artifacts of every major part of the spacecraft .. the toroidal aft structure, solar panels,  the truss, spherical tanks ...

It's obvious this mission was proceeding as scheduled before it sustained a major systems failure. 

---  CHAS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/30/2011 02:10 pm
http://www.1prime.ru/news/0/%7BE1C430D1-1C10-4B90-9E73-772B2898272B%7D.uif
Quote
Based on photos by Ralf it seems that F-B does not keep Sun orientation. This would explain lack of contact unless sun panels get in good position to recharge batteries, a source says.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/30/2011 02:27 pm
One would have thought that Russians have some of their own military assets to image this thing , either from ground or from orbit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/30/2011 02:33 pm
One would have thought that Russians have some of their own military assets to image this thing , either from ground or from orbit.

They probably have and both the assets and the resulting images are probably classified at least 'Secret' if not 'Top Secret'.  The photos might have been delivered to those with a need to know but there is no compelling reason for the Russian Federation to expose its orbital imaging capabilities by releasing them to the public.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 11/30/2011 02:37 pm
The photos might have been delivered to those with a need to know but there is no compelling reason for the Russian Federation to expose its orbital imaging capabilities by releasing them to the public.
Sure, would not have expected to see them posted on the intertubes, but at least one would have expected some more coherent resulting communications coming out of Roscosmos.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 11/30/2011 02:44 pm
The photos might have been delivered to those with a need to know but there is no compelling reason for the Russian Federation to expose its orbital imaging capabilities by releasing them to the public.

Sure, would not have expected to see them posted on the intertubes, but at least one would have expected some more coherent resulting communications coming out of Roscosmos.

FWIW, I think it is as much a mistake to assume that Roscosmos is a single, coherent entity as it is with NASA.  There are probably various departments, internal factions and power blocs, all of which are either running CYA protocols, trying to fix this problem as best as they can or trying to use it to attack their rivals.  Add to that an agency that has not been historically keen on blow-by-blow commentaries on missions for any reason and the reason for the current confused situation becomes a bit clearer.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/30/2011 02:54 pm
They might have, just we do not hear anything about such efforts due to way Russian agencies work. Just look at communication so far with much simpler things. Most comes from ESA...

Article that JimO mentioned is a very interesting discussion of how to destroy F-G if it comes to that. Main tone is - Russia could have had multiple nice systems, but they were aborted in 1990s.

First step is to observe F-B, and it can be done using optical and radar facilities in Russia, for example "Window" ("Okno") system.
Second point is that F-B could be taken off orbit and repaired, either by bringing it back to Earth (think shuttle) or repaired on orbit.
Third point is how to prevent pieces falling down and causing problems. Article mentions that experts do not agree - Americans say fuel will freeze, arrive to surface and cause ecological disaster. Chinese say their satellite is not dangerous.
What follows is discussion of IS-MU anti-satellite system, which is currently right where Russian shuttle program is.
http://www.russianspaceweb.com/is.html
Another possibility could be A-35M system, but it was taken offline in 1990 and disassembled.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-35_anti-ballistic_missile_system
One more chance is to use A-135 system, namely A-925 rockets. They were also disbanded with the end of Cold War.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-135_anti-ballistic_missile_system
Remaining capability is to shoot it down using PRS-1 missiles of A-135, but it would only work if F-B fell right on Moscow.
Other than that, maybe MIG-31D (anti-satellite fighter)? Nope, it was buried too.

Once again, due to end of Cold War, disarmament and universal peace - methods for shooting down satellite in this case are not operational.

F-B should make people think - today a satellite cannot be taken down, what if something else comes from space?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rcoppola on 11/30/2011 03:07 pm
It's "Crazy Question Wednesday" time:

It was recently reported that the X-37B was being kept in-orbit past its' planned return to Earth. We do not know the current capabilities of this technology test-bed, but is it anywhere near PG? Or could it be maneuvered to get there? I wonder if they are using PG to do some test monitoring of some kind or some test maneuvers..etc.?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jorge on 11/30/2011 03:11 pm
It's "Crazy Question Wednesday" time:

It was recently reported that the X-37B was being kept in-orbit past its' planned return to Earth. We do not know the current capabilities of this technology test-bed, but is it anywhere near PG? Or could it be maneuvered to get there? I wonder if they are using PG to do some test monitoring of some kind or some test maneuvers..etc.?


No and no.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/30/2011 03:13 pm
It's "Crazy Question Wednesday" time:

It was recently reported that the X-37B was being kept in-orbit past its' planned return to Earth. We do not know the current capabilities of this technology test-bed, but is it anywhere near PG? Or could it be maneuvered to get there? I wonder if they are using PG to do some test monitoring of some kind or some test maneuvers..etc.?


it has been asked many times.  Read the thread. 
There are many more spacecraft up there, why hasn't anyone asked whether HST, SPOT, or Digitalglobe can do it.  Why X-37?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: jimvela on 11/30/2011 03:43 pm
It's "Crazy Question Wednesday" time:

It was recently reported that the X-37B was being kept in-orbit past its' planned return to Earth. We do not know the current capabilities of this technology test-bed, but is it anywhere near PG? Or could it be maneuvered to get there? I wonder if they are using PG to do some test monitoring of some kind or some test maneuvers..etc.?


it has been asked many times.  Read the thread. 
There are many more spacecraft up there, why hasn't anyone asked whether HST, SPOT, or Digitalglobe can do it.  Why X-37?

There is a far better operational system than any of those, as far as orbital imaging of spacecraft.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 11/30/2011 03:46 pm
One would have thought that Russians have some of their own military assets to image this thing , either from ground or from orbit.

They probably have and both the assets and the resulting images are probably classified at least 'Secret' if not 'Top Secret'.  The photos might have been delivered to those with a need to know but there is no compelling reason for the Russian Federation to expose its orbital imaging capabilities by releasing them to the public.

another possibility is simply the lighting conditions, remember that the reason Perth was able to make contact with the spacecraft and not the Russian ground stations was due to lighting conditions when contacted, for imaging the same situation would be likely as one needs to have sunlight on the spacecraft but not on the earth (unless it is extremely bright like ISS)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 11/30/2011 03:49 pm
The Russian press has found Ralf's photos and is highlighting them:
http://www.ria.ru/science/20111130/502776332.html
http://rus.ruvr.ru/2011/11/30/61270518.html

Congratulations to Ralf and the other telescope-camera trackers!!

Also, latest on Canaries Islands tracking...
http://www.rosbalt.ru/main/2011/11/30/918903.html



Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 11/30/2011 03:51 pm
It's "Crazy Question Wednesday" time:

It was recently reported that the X-37B was being kept in-orbit past its' planned return to Earth. We do not know the current capabilities of this technology test-bed, but is it anywhere near PG? Or could it be maneuvered to get there? I wonder if they are using PG to do some test monitoring of some kind or some test maneuvers..etc.?


it has been asked many times.  Read the thread. 
There are many more spacecraft up there, why hasn't anyone asked whether HST, SPOT, or Digitalglobe can do it.  Why X-37?

There is a far better operational system than any of those, as far as orbital imaging of spacecraft.

AMOS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 11/30/2011 04:03 pm
AMOS

Well there was that persistent rumor before contact that it was sun oriented. That or a similar system is the only way I can think of determining that.

Btw. Both the shuttle and skylab where imaged at different points by NRO on orbit assets. A dig with the search function in the historical threads should turn them up. I would suggest the following terms, KH-11 Shuttle, and SkyLab Gambit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChrisC on 11/30/2011 04:22 pm
Took that rotation of a color version, did a Gaussian blur, played with the levels to the minimum where the dish would be visible and got this....

I think at least one person (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=27289.msg834797#msg834797) here has already made the mistake of confusing this with actual orbital imaging, so I'll point out that this "blurry photo" is docmordrid's attempt to simulate what a photo of P-G would look like if photographed in that orientation.  He took a perfectly clear photo/graphic and DEGRADED it to create that blurry "photo".

I'm just waiting for this to pop up in the media as an actual photo, like Ralf's.

EDIT a couple days later:  thanks doc for clarifying your post
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: anik on 11/30/2011 04:37 pm
http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations

Orbit-raising commands sent last night via ESA's #Perth station to operate #PhobosGrunt thrusters were set for later execution but results were negative and Russian controllers report no resulting change in #PhobosGrunt orbit seen #estrack #esoc...

ESA's 15m #Maspalomas station transmitted a set of Russian commands to #PhobosGrunt at ~14:35GMT today aiming to turn its transmitter ON

As #Maspalomas modifications had yet to be completed, available send power was v. low. As expected, commanding did not succeed #phobosgrunt

Thruster control commands will also be sent to #phobosgrunt via ESA's #Perth station tonight. However, these will be interleaved with commands to activate the downlink (radio transmitter) so as to have evidence that the commands were accepted by #PhobosGrunt

#PhobosGrunt controllers will send a new set of commands for upload via #Maspalomas station on 01.12 when station mods will be complete

Commands to be sent via #Maspalomas 01.12 (~12:47GMT) will instruct #PhobosGrunt in real time to activate the downlink & send telemetry
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: astroRyan on 11/30/2011 04:51 pm
Two new frames, and more information (in English) from Ralf Vandebergh in thread below (scroll to bottom):
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=10631&start=10635

Think I found a match to Ralf's latest image.
Ralf's:
http://freeimagehosting.nl/pics/af4c8ee866db6ddcb195d97c3d958aac.jpg

Closeout image:
http://www.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/nk/forum-pic/FG/Phobos-Grunt-photo5-hi.jpg
Note that the closeout image was taken prior to stacking onto the Fregat, so the tanks are not shown here. 

Anyone care to speculate?  Stuck solar array?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 11/30/2011 06:00 pm
From the Russian Space Web: ESA attempts to contact Phobos Grunt from the Canary Islands yield no response.

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/phobos_grunt_launch.html#11_30
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 11/30/2011 06:08 pm
BTW - Canary Islands station is not modified yet, as the Australian one is. It wasn't expected to be success yet.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 11/30/2011 07:11 pm
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations
Quote
esaoperations ESA Operations
@ @The_Littl_Thing: Night of 30/11-01/12 via #Perth & daytime 01/12 via #Maspalomas
17 minutes ago
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 11/30/2011 07:30 pm
It's "Crazy Question Wednesday" time:

It was recently reported that the X-37B was being kept in-orbit past its' planned return to Earth. We do not know the current capabilities of this technology test-bed, but is it anywhere near PG? Or could it be maneuvered to get there? I wonder if they are using PG to do some test monitoring of some kind or some test maneuvers..etc.?


it has been asked many times.  Read the thread. 
There are many more spacecraft up there, why hasn't anyone asked whether HST, SPOT, or Digitalglobe can do it.  Why X-37?

There is a far better operational system than any of those, as far as orbital imaging of spacecraft.

Yes, but we will NEVER see those images, or be told what has been learned from them.  That's WAY too highly classified.  So for all intents and purposes, it being the best is of no use here.


Edit: Of course, Jim is correct.  That what AMOS does.  I was thinking of an orbiting asset.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: jimvela on 11/30/2011 07:49 pm
Yes, but we will NEVER see those images, or be told what has been learned from them.  That's WAY too highly classified.  So for all intents and purposes, it being the best is of no use here.

Edit: Of course, Jim is correct.  That what AMOS does.  I was thinking of an orbiting asset.

I was also thinking of an orbiting asset, and yes of course Jim is right about AMOS- as usual.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: docmordrid on 12/01/2011 03:50 am
Took that rotation of a color version, did a Gaussian blur, played with the levels to the minimum where the dish would be visible and got this....
>
..this "blurry photo" is docmordrid's attempt to simulate what a photo of P-G would look like if photographed in that orientation.  He took a perfectly clear photo/graphic and DEGRADED it to create that blurry "photo".

I'm just waiting for this to pop up in the media as an actual photo, like Ralf's.
I just updated that post with a big, red warning that it's a simulation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: anik on 12/01/2011 10:46 am
http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations

Radio uplink slots from ESA's #Maspalomas (Spain) station set today for 12:47GMT & again ~3 hrs later #PhobosGrunt

No results seen from last night's radio uplink from #Perth stn #PhobosGrunt #estrack
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 12/01/2011 11:40 am
New photos of PG with interpretation from Ralf Vandebergh

http://freeimagehosting.nl/pics/0d33879a47831d9eb964b621b79da1be.jpg
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 12/01/2011 12:33 pm
Latest predicted entry date last week in December
http://satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2011/0381.html


That may be due to a glitch in the data: Space Track had just issued two TLEs with an identical epoch but noticeably different mean motions and eccentricities.  I suspect that confused SatEvo, which had been holding pretty steady on mid-January for several days. We'll see over the next day or two.

Indeed, the projected decay is now returning to mid-January. The last five days of SatEvo decay projections are given below; each line corresponds to a separate orbital element set obtained from Space Track. Epoch is the epoch of the element set in YYDDD.dddddd format, Decay is the SatEvo predicted time of decay in the same format and (Date) is the translation of Decay into the civil calendar.

   Epoch               Decay              (Date)

11330.150093   12010.337116  (2012 January 10)
11330.324934   12010.674417  (2012 January 10)
11330.816053   12011.778253  (2012 January 11)
11331.190854   12013.141444  (2012 January 13)
11331.547234   12016.169592  (2012 January 16)
11331.812884   12017.363184  (2012 January 17)
11332.142905   12017.449242  (2012 January 17)
11332.541782   12016.147182  (2012 January 16)
11332.867218   12016.255881  (2012 January 16)
11333.127457   12016.448504  (2012 January 16)
11333.250965   12016.267619  (2012 January 16)
11333.250965   12016.430679  (2012 January 16)
11333.740904   12016.535829  (2012 January 16)
11334.006667   12015.448941  (2012 January 15)
11334.123038   11362.713064  (2011 December 28)
11334.535081   12009.550753  (2012 January 9)
11334.801352   12009.898798  (2012 January 9)
11335.182059   12010.702153  (2012 January 10)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 12/01/2011 01:35 pm

For no particular reason, I made a plot of PG's perigee since the first couple of element sets. The part to the right of Day 326 is what is being called normal decay behavior and the part to the left, well, isn't.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 12/01/2011 02:14 pm
New photos of PG with interpretation from Ralf Vandebergh

http://freeimagehosting.nl/pics/0d33879a47831d9eb964b621b79da1be.jpg

I still see one array deployed and one folded.  On the left image, the left array looks extended out.  The right array looks like it is downward in it's pre-launch direction.  It's that dark "appendage" that looks like it connects the two major sections on the right (not any of the lighter shaded items).

I'll be the first to admit that this may be all tricks of light and resolution but I see the same thing with each new image.

Besides causing a power issue, a non-deployed array would also change the cg of the spacecraft.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 12/01/2011 02:41 pm
[rant mode -- ON]

Well, today is the birthday of the new "Russian Air-Space Defense Forces", and the unintentional theme of the day, thanks to the on-going Fobos-Grunt crisis, is how ignorant and impotent the new command already is, and how the 'new thinking' and growing candor that characterized the fall of the USSR has evaporated away in the newly-revealed Soviet-style stonewalling instincts of top space program managers.

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=4&id=291436
http://rt.com/politics/space-forces-military-russia-625/ 
http://rusnovosti.ru/news/175220/

When asked about Fobos-Grunt, the new CinC, LtGen Oleg Ostapenko, said it really wasn't his job but he did know where the probe was -- he just wouldn't tell anyone, so they had to use American orbital tracking data. When asked when it would reenter, his answer: they always do, sometime or other.

And how about Air-Space Defense Forces optical sensors and telescope cameras, one might ask [but nobody did]. His answer would have been, maybe, well, we're relying on talented Dutch amateur astronomers, as an economy measure. And how about interesting and suggestive orbital evolution trends with obvious secular changes, suggesting some spacecraft activity? Not his job. How about DEFENDING [as in, say, "Air-Space Defense"] the motherland from threats from space objects, again, apparently, not HIS job. Threats? We don't see any threats!

The Russian press continues to be full of news stories about the mystery of Fobos-Grunt and its fate. With rare exception, those stories are sourced to ESA spokesmen, to 'Chinese experts', to Western observers appearing on this thread, to 'inside sources' who are never named [and often turn out to be wrong], to courageous private bloggers in Russia, and to a highly sanitized history of past space debacles. And too often the stories are from Soviet-era apparatchniks who fall back on the stock-in-trade Stalinist response to setbacks: "Wreckers! Saboteurs! Enemy actions!"

And Roskosmos? Lavochkin? IKI? What can you tell us about....?

"Fobos-Grunt?" they respond. "Fobos-Grunt who?"

IMHO, this irresponsible and shameful official Russian response to this crisis is burning down more than a decade's hard-earned, grudgingly acknowledged growth of international trust [in Russia -- the rest of us are grown ups] that a generation of space workers in the US, Russia, and their awesome international partners have hoped for -- and for many, have focused on as the greatest world benefit of such international cooperation.

The good will engendered by this bold mission, that the world hoped would succeed, and the eager brainpower turning towards eager discussions of alternate mission profiles or to emergency response and rescue options, is slowly, reluctantly morphing into baffled frustration, impatient exasperation, growing mockery and derision, and worse.

A lot more than just one lost space probe is falling in flames as we, horrified and more-and-more hopeless in our helplessness, are watching.

[rant mode -- OFF]

Let's keep doing what WE are doing, to help chronicle this process so future generations can learn from it the lessons that the program leaders seem to have forgotten.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: InvalidAttitude on 12/01/2011 03:16 pm
What if the other solar panel is completely missing? That would explain why the Russian officials playing dead and silent with the on-going rescue efforts, they know its already game-over.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: SiberianTiger on 12/01/2011 03:58 pm
What if the other solar panel is completely missing? That would explain why the Russian officials playing dead and silent with the on-going rescue efforts, they know its already game-over.

Did you hear what Mr. Medvedev said? He said that responsible for failures in space will be punished. I think this is a pretty good incentive to continue restoration attempts till the slightest chance is there.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/01/2011 04:01 pm
What if the other solar panel is completely missing? That would explain why the Russian officials playing dead and silent with the on-going rescue efforts, they know its already game-over.

And why had no one seen it yet? No, the only objects catalog'd where the probe and the second stage, which I believe has already decayed.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 12/01/2011 04:32 pm
From: James E Oberg [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2011 10:51 AM
To: Jacobs, Bob (HQ-NA000)
Subject: NASA assistence to Fobos-Grunt rescue
 

Bob:

Any truth to this rumor that the China law prohibits NASA assistence
to Russia re 'Fobos-Grunt'?



From: Jacobs, Bob (HQ-NA000)
To: '[email protected]'
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2011 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: NASA assistence to Fobos-Grunt rescue


None. NASA has provided assistance and resources. Some of the resources and personnel had to be diverted to support MSL. But NASA, along with other space agencies, continues to work with Russia is its efforts to reestablish communications with Phobos-Grunt.

Feel free to quote me if you need to.

Best,
Bob

 

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: MarsInMyLifetime on 12/01/2011 05:16 pm
And why had no one seen it yet?

Indeed. As I squint at the approach phase image from several feet away (as artists do to see past the brush-level artifacts in their paintings), I seem to clearly see the dark fronts of both panels extended--at 10:00 and 4:00 around the lander's bright bus. If that is the case, a more vexing question is why the return module's panel is not equally as visible on top of the lander, midway between those "panels." Considering how marginal these images are anyway, at best we can suggest interpretations, but should run with them only as far as clear evidence can support. I don't think the evidence indicates a missing or folded panel just yet.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: anik on 12/01/2011 06:53 pm
http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations

No results seen following 2 command uplink passes today from ESA's #Maspalomas station

ESA teams will send commands up - 4 slots available tonight via #Perth station & 2 more 02.12 via #Maspalomas

ESA #Perth station passes tonight not optimum: 1 in eclipse, 1 w/only little Sunlight, 2 w/Sunlight but not best pointing
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 12/01/2011 07:51 pm
And why had no one seen it yet?

Indeed. As I squint at the approach phase image from several feet away (as artists do to see past the brush-level artifacts in their paintings), I seem to clearly see the dark fronts of both panels extended--at 10:00 and 4:00 around the lander's bright bus. If that is the case, a more vexing question is why the return module's panel is not equally as visible on top of the lander, midway between those "panels." Considering how marginal these images are anyway, at best we can suggest interpretations, but should run with them only as far as clear evidence can support. I don't think the evidence indicates a missing or folded panel just yet.

OK, now you've made me take out the drawing tools :-)

In the attached image (PG-Speculation1.jpg), the yellow outline is the deployed array.  The red part is what I believe *may be* an undeployed array.  The downward grey "bar" is what I'm basing this idea on.  There is also a small upward part that appears on that side of the spacecraft that isn't on the other.  Notice that the downward grey bar only appears on that side of the spacecraft. If it were shadowed then I believe nothing would appear there.

Also, if you believe the part in yellow is the deployed array, it is the same shade as the part going downwards on the other side of the spacecraft.

Purely speculation, of course, since there isn't close to enough resolution and plenty of blur in the image to provide a definitive explanation.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 12/01/2011 08:20 pm
Purely speculation, of course, since there isn't close to enough resolution and plenty of blur in the image to provide a definitive explanation.
Some of Ralfs images of Soyuz and Progress (roughly comparable size to PG, but with larger solar arrays) should serve as a cautionary note:
http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/6135/progressm04m10062702184.jpg
http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/3052/progressm06m100630seta.jpg
http://freeimagehosting.nl/pics/209702e67b83500fbd68ee5e32db1900.jpg
http://freeimagehosting.nl/pics/82a93f3e8516490b83f9cbfc00fe6944.jpg
http://freeimagehosting.nl/pics/26f0e0ee0790cab9264516cbf0415e63.jpg

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 12/01/2011 08:32 pm
A full cover ground-view from Ralf posted in Space Safety Magazine: http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/2011/12/01/fphobos-grunt/
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: John Duncan on 12/01/2011 09:26 pm
I think those images of Progress, etc., shows that we can't really tell anything.  At best your getting half of the object and we tend to see what we want to see.

If the image is mirrored and copied across you might get a sense of the complete object.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 12/01/2011 11:57 pm
I have an idea that is admittedly silly, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

I realize that there are no relay sats in Earth orbit that can relay Ph-G's signal. My (probably dumb) question is, are there any deep space probes, especially at or approaching Mars that can transmit in Ph-G's frequency in X-band? (MSL, MRO, Mars Express, etc) And if so, would they be strong enough for Ph-G to pick up when reaching Earth?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 12/02/2011 12:56 am
I have an idea that is admittedly silly, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

I realize that there are no relay sats in Earth orbit that can relay Ph-G's signal. My (probably dumb) question is, are there any deep space probes, especially at or approaching Mars that can transmit in Ph-G's frequency in X-band? (MSL, MRO, Mars Express, etc) And if so, would they be strong enough for Ph-G to pick up when reaching Earth?

Even if it was yes and yes, the spacecraft cant relay commands for PG.  Non comsat spacecraft only transmit data, data from instruments and health and status data.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 12/02/2011 01:12 am

Even if it was yes and yes, the spacecraft cant relay commands for PG.  Non comsat spacecraft only transmit data, data from instruments and health and status data.
I was under the impression that Odyssey, MRO, Mars Express, and now defunct Mars Global Surveyor were already acting as relays for the MERs.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 12/02/2011 01:19 am

Even if it was yes and yes, the spacecraft cant relay commands for PG.  Non comsat spacecraft only transmit data, data from instruments and health and status data.
I was under the impression that Odyssey, MRO, Mars Express, and now defunct Mars Global Surveyor were already acting as relays for the MERs.

In the UHF frequencies
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: HIPAR on 12/02/2011 01:41 am

Even if it was yes and yes, the spacecraft cant relay commands for PG.  Non comsat spacecraft only transmit data, data from instruments and health and status data.
I was under the impression that Odyssey, MRO, Mars Express, and now defunct Mars Global Surveyor were already acting as relays for the MERs.

They do relay data.  But don't forget Mars orbiters are hundreds of millions miles distant.  Receiving their signals requires really huge dish antennas operated by the Deep Space Network.  Obviously the Phobos probe isn't equipped with that kind of antenna.

And even if signals from Mars orbiters were strong enough, the question would be if it were possible to remotely tune the transmitters to the proper X Band frequency.

---  CHAS
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 12/02/2011 10:43 am
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations

Quote
esaoperations ESA Operations
ESA's #Maspalomas station will use slots at 12:40GMT&14:13GMT to send Russian commands to #PhobosGrunt. Details later.
1 hour ago
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 12/02/2011 12:14 pm
Interesting sites:

Engineers struggling to re-contact Phobos Grunt
December 2, 2011
http://www.spaceflight101.com/phobos-grunt-mission-updates.html


Latest RIA-Novosti [0840 gmt today]:
http://www.ria.ru/science/20111202/504385809.html

Bizarre 'Pravda' article with comments, from Nov 30,
that I had overlooked:
"Фобос-Грунт" мешал американскому марсоходу?
Светлана Сметанина // 30.11.11 11:24   
http://www.pravda.ru/society/fashion/couture/30-11-2011/1100351-Fobos-0/
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: spectre9 on 12/02/2011 12:50 pm
So I'm guessing it's ran out of power by this point?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 12/02/2011 01:08 pm
Quote
Bizarre 'Pravda' article with comments, from Nov 30,
that I had overlooked:
http://www.pravda.ru/society/fashion/couture/30-11-2011/1100351-Fobos-0/
Article is an interview with a former soldier from "Space Forces", who later worked in a construction bureau.
Main themes:
- if Russia had the same space communication network (ships) like in the past, they could have known reasons of mishap, including whether there was interference from third parties.
- in the past both space countries were informally "attacking" each others spacecrafts with signals, there are examples quoted from 1969 and 1970.
- in the past it was unthinkable to give out codes and commands for a valuable spacecraft mission, as it happened now, when ESA received precise data to communicate with F-G. These were previously guarded secrets. OT: this shows that mindset has changed in Russian program from the old days.
- as both USAan and Russian spacecrafts were launched close to each other (due to window constraints) it might have had influence on communications interfering with each other, especially when they were still close to Earth. This is presented as a possibility, not a statement.

Overall - it is a view on the state of today's space industry in Russia, focusing on inability to provide sufficient resources to fully support missions. Additionally there are musings on whether external influence was possible.

Article might sound bizzare if interpreted as a paranoic "Merkins shot our spacecraft" rambling, which it does not seem to really be. A question whether it were possible was asked by the journalist, not volunteered by the interviewee. He replied to the best of his knowledge on possibilities (which he considers technically doable). Journalists have a talent of asking a theoretical question ("would it be technically possible to remotely disable spacecraft?") and making it a sensational headline ("specialists claim it were possible to remotely disable spacecraft"). Been there, seen way too many such examples :-/

At least that's my take on this article.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 12/02/2011 01:44 pm
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations
Quote
esaoperations ESA Operations
No results from uplinking Russian telecommands via ESA's #Perth (01.12) & #Maspalomas (02.12) stations #PhobosGrunt
10 minutes ago
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/02/2011 01:54 pm
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations
Quote
esaoperations ESA Operations
No results from uplinking Russian telecommands via ESA's #Perth (01.12) & #Maspalomas (02.12) stations #PhobosGrunt
10 minutes ago


This complete silence and lack of response has been ongoing for a while now.  I think it is safe to assume that something has irrevocably failed, either in the comms subsystem, in the power system or in the main processor.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: veblen on 12/02/2011 02:14 pm
Quote
Bizarre 'Pravda' article with comments, from Nov 30,
that I had overlooked:
http://www.pravda.ru/society/fashion/couture/30-11-2011/1100351-Fobos-0/
Article is an interview with a former soldier from "Space Forces", who later worked in a construction bureau.
Main themes:
- if Russia had the same space communication network (ships) like in the past, they could have known reasons of mishap, including whether there was interference from third parties.
- in the past both space countries were informally "attacking" each others spacecrafts with signals, there are examples quoted from 1969 and 1970.


Additionally there are musings on whether external influence was possible.

Article might sound bizzare if interpreted as a paranoic "Merkins shot our spacecraft" rambling

At least that's my take on this article.

Definition of "bizarre" is strikingly odd. To be "paranoid" is to be suffering from delusions, especially for example delusions of grandeur or PERSECUTION.

To me, accusations that the West somehow interfered with F-G are odd or bizarre. Just because I don't share your view of this old Soviet general's "musings" does not make me paranoid. Think about it, just who is showing elements of paranoia here?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 12/02/2011 02:19 pm
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations
Quote
esaoperations ESA Operations
No results from uplinking Russian telecommands via ESA's #Perth (01.12) & #Maspalomas (02.12) stations #PhobosGrunt
10 minutes ago


This complete silence and lack of response has been ongoing for a while now.  I think it is safe to assume that something has irrevocably failed, either in the comms subsystem, in the power system or in the main processor.

Interesting.  Why would you say that now?  It took two weeks for the initial communications where conditions were apparently just right.  It's less than two weeks since the last communications and there have been no reports of additional failures onboard.  Just the same lack of communications that occurred during the first two weeks.

Don't misunderstand me - I don't think there is any reasonable chance of this spacecraft leaving low Earth orbit.  But, I also don't see what changed between the first communications a week ago and now that would preclude additional communications.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 12/02/2011 02:21 pm
This complete silence and lack of response has been ongoing for a while now.  I think it is safe to assume that something has irrevocably failed, either in the comms subsystem, in the power system or in the main processor.
Sadly Fobos-Grunt seems to be doing pretty bad even executing emergency mode :-(
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: M_Puckett on 12/02/2011 02:25 pm
Quote
as both USAan and Russian spacecrafts were launched close to each other (due to window constraints) it might have had influence on communications interfering with each other, especially when they were still close to Earth. This is presented as a possibility, not a statement.

Phobos-G was launched weeks before Curiosity.  How could it have interfered with Phobos-G?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/02/2011 02:34 pm
Ted Molczan just posted "Fobos-Grunt: new pieces catalogued by USSTRATCOM"
http://satobs.org/seesat/Dec-2011/0015.html


Also didn't all the communications occur before Phobos stopped it's odd orbital dance?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Moskit on 12/02/2011 02:48 pm
To me, accusations that the West somehow interfered with F-G are odd or bizarre. Just because I don't share your view of this old Soviet general's "musings" does not make me paranoid. Think about it, just who is showing elements of paranoia here?

Now I don't get you :-/

I did not write that I consider people who do not agree with me paranoid, as you seem to imply in your post.

Technically it would have been possible to interfere with the satellite (send a strong signal in the right band, or an EMP), just very unlikely. Even if that happened we would probably not learn about it until 50 years later. Meanwhile people are free to make their own assumptions. Some say it was an American interference, some say it was a UFO, others say it was sabotage, many that it was a malfunction/design issue.

Once again - accusation was made by the military guy in the first interview. As you probably know any important event makes journalists search for anyone who provides the most sensational statements they can find. And they found that guy who was convinced that USA could have done it and was willing to tell them that.
I bet that after 11Sep there were just as many loonies in USA claiming it was UFO or Russian interference, and they got quoted in some of American press too. If I were to make my opinion on Americans based on such articles, it wouldn't be a good one ;-)

This last interview was a bit different - another journalist was asking another source whether it was possible, and he replied that based on his past experience it was possible. Unlikely, yes, very, but still - remotely possible. When people read it as "accusation that USA borked the spacecraft" it seems incorrect.

If you asked me if it is probable that JimO is a Russian secret agent, I would say that yes, it is probable. Probability would be extremely close to 0, but non-zero. From a technical point of view this is correct. However if based on that journalist wrote "expert claims JimO could be a Russian agent", then someone read it and said "this guy accuses JimO of being an agent", he would be making incorrect assumptions. I hope you see the logic that leads astray?

Quote from: M_Puckett
Phobos-G was launched weeks before Curiosity.  How could it have interfered with Phobos-G?
As launches were separate I don't see it either - you would need to ask the gentleman who gave the interview :) The way I read it was that this could cause problems later on, when both were already on their way. I suspect that once again it could have been a conditional answer and bad interpretation by the journalist, instead of accusation.


People - please do not read too much into articles such as those quoted. This is not scientific at all by both sides and only leads to more confusion. This is not hard data at all, and even with lack of almost any data we should not take such articles as "all Russians think that" or "all Americans think else".
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: DFSL on 12/02/2011 03:43 pm
The post above could be possibly the most reasonable thing I've read in the last few pages, including opinions of space "experts".
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 12/02/2011 03:49 pm
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations

Quote
esaoperations ESA Operations
We share full understanding in this v. diff situation with our Russian colleagues #phobosgrunt
27 minutes ago

ESA Operations
esaoperations ESA Operations
ESA ground teams remain #available to assist the #PhobosGrunt mission if indicated by any change in situation #estrack
1 hour ago

ESA Operations
esaoperations ESA Operations
In consultation and agreement with #PhobosGrunt mission controllers, ESA engineers will end #ESTRACK ground station support today
1 hour ago

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Apollo-phill on 12/02/2011 03:56 pm
Slightly ironic that Russia would appear to be 'giving-up' on Fobos-Grunt today (see previous item in this forum fom ESA Operations twitter) when today - 40 years ago - saw the Soviet Union's Mars-3 probe go into Mars orbit !!

A-P
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: robertross on 12/02/2011 03:56 pm
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations

Quote
esaoperations ESA Operations
We share full understanding in this v. diff situation with our Russian colleagues #phobosgrunt
27 minutes ago

ESA Operations
esaoperations ESA Operations
ESA ground teams remain #available to assist the #PhobosGrunt mission if indicated by any change in situation #estrack
1 hour ago

ESA Operations
esaoperations ESA Operations
In consultation and agreement with #PhobosGrunt mission controllers, ESA engineers will end #ESTRACK ground station support today
1 hour ago



Well, that seems to seal it then.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/02/2011 03:56 pm
From http://twitter.com/#!/esaoperations

Quote
ESA Operations
esaoperations ESA Operations
In consultation and agreement with #PhobosGrunt mission controllers, ESA engineers will end #ESTRACK ground station support today
1 hour ago



IMHO, that last one was as close to a confirmation to "it's dead, Jim" as we're likely to get.

So... Now we have a spacecraft which may or may not still have active attitude control but cannot communicate that has a very large amount of hydrazine and nitrogen tetraoxide propellent and even some small radioative sources in its instruments that is likely to carry out an uncontrolled re-entry in about five to six weeks' time.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rcoppola on 12/02/2011 04:04 pm
OK, so I'm going on the idea that it's done.

So what happens now:

1. Blow it out of orbit now?
2. Wait to see where it may re-enter and then decide?
3. Who will be tasked with destroying it, if that is the outcome?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/02/2011 04:08 pm
OK, so I'm going on the idea that it's done.

So what happens now:

1. Blow it out of orbit now?
2. Wait to see where it may re-enter and then decide?
3. Who will be tasked with destroying it, if that is the outcome?

Option (2) is most likely to be chosen.  As for 'who', only the Chinese and the US have proven ASAT capability at this time.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: bolun on 12/02/2011 04:13 pm
ESA suspends tracking support to Russian Mars mission

2 December 2011

In consultation and agreement with Phobos-Grunt mission managers, ESA engineers will end tracking support today. Efforts in the past week to send commands to and receive data from the Russian Mars mission via ESA ground stations have not succeeded; no response has been seen from the satellite. ESA teams remain available to assist the Phobos-Grunt mission if indicated by any change in the situation.

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEMNEO2XFVG_0.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/02/2011 04:21 pm
Option (2) is most likely to be chosen.  As for 'who', only the Chinese and the US have proven ASAT capability at this time.

Have recently demonstrated in controlled conditions. Nether has declared it has an "Operational" system or a "Deployed" such systems. The US claimed the recent test was a one off. I myself chalk all the ASAT talk up there with the claim's of the US disabling it.

I vote there will be much hand wringing waiting for an uncontrolled reentry.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/02/2011 04:25 pm
2. Wait to see where it may re-enter and then decide?

Decide what?  We won't have a good idea where it's going to reenter until perhaps an hour before it does.  In fact, it might not be until a few days after reentry.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rcoppola on 12/02/2011 04:26 pm
Option (2) is most likely to be chosen.  As for 'who', only the Chinese and the US have proven ASAT capability at this time.

Have recently demonstrated in controlled conditions. Nether has declared it has an "Operational" system or a "Deployed" such systems. The US claimed the recent test was a one off. I myself chalk all the ASAT talk up there with the claim's of the US disabling it.

I vote there will be much hand wringing waiting for an uncontrolled reentry.

I suspect one-off or not, operational or not, if it's tracked to populated areas, any nation that has the potential capability has the obligation to try.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rcoppola on 12/02/2011 04:28 pm
2. Wait to see where it may re-enter and then decide?

Decide what?  We won't have a good idea where it's going to reenter until perhaps an hour before it does.  In fact, it might not be until a few days after reentry.
That is the question isn't it. So if we are unable to do so in meaningful timeframe, then one would think your answer would be option 1? Take it out now?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/02/2011 04:41 pm
2. Wait to see where it may re-enter and then decide?

Decide what?  We won't have a good idea where it's going to reenter until perhaps an hour before it does.  In fact, it might not be until a few days after reentry.
That is the question isn't it. So if we are unable to do so in meaningful timeframe, then one would think your answer would be option 1? Take it out now?

I'm not sure anyone has that capability.  If someone does and it isn't the Russians, who would pay for such a large effort?  And they'd likely have to get started right away.  Remember, the USA 193 thing took many weeks/months of planning and work.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 12/02/2011 04:41 pm
2. Wait to see where it may re-enter and then decide?

Decide what?  We won't have a good idea where it's going to reenter until perhaps an hour before it does.  In fact, it might not be until a few days after reentry.

And now we wait.
From Heavens-Above:

Orbit: 208 x 304 km, 51.4° (Epoch Dec 2)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 12/02/2011 04:43 pm
Well, two ways to read the ESA blurb -

1) Russia has given up and told ESA to stand-down.  Too many rubles have been spent trying to wake-up a spacecraft that will never head to Mars.  Or something happened very recently (the "G" object) that changed the opinions about the rehabilitation of the spacecraft.

2) Russia has decided that ESA is too open about attempts and is making Roscosmos look bad (or maybe a better term would be "worse").  So all future attempts will be made out of Baikonur and ESA's help is no longer wanted.

I think either intepretation ends up with the spacecraft re-entering in January, unless a minor miracle occurs and the spacecraft starts raising its orbit again.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: aero on 12/02/2011 05:21 pm
Do we know anything about the construction of F-G? On re-entry it will break up so how many pieces will reach the ground (probably). How large will the big pieces be? If the fuel is frozen, that will be a large piece or several, how many tanks?

A point- wouldn't it be futile to distroy the vehicle as the big pieces would still re-enter, just with more uncertainty as to where?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: savuporo on 12/02/2011 05:26 pm
Quote
ESA Operations
esaoperations ESA Operations
In consultation and agreement with #PhobosGrunt mission controllers, ESA engineers will end #ESTRACK ground station support today
1 hour ago



IMHO, that last one was as close to a confirmation to "it's dead, Jim" as we're likely to get.

No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!.  They stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major...


Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/02/2011 05:33 pm
A point- wouldn't it be futile to distroy the vehicle as the big pieces would still re-enter, just with more uncertainty as to where?

That's a good question.  The optimistic answer is that, if you break up the spacecraft, there is less structure (effectively insulation) around the densest components, increasing the rate at which these items are heated by their interaction with the atmosphere.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/02/2011 05:54 pm
If the fuel is frozen, that will be a large piece or several, how many tanks?
The idea is that the tanks are made from aluminium which burns quite lovely during reentry so if there is any frozen fuel it will unfreeze and explode.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 12/02/2011 05:56 pm
OK, so I'm going on the idea that it's done.

So what happens now:

1. Blow it out of orbit now?
2. Wait to see where it may re-enter and then decide?
3. Who will be tasked with destroying it, if that is the outcome?

Option (2) is most likely to be chosen.  As for 'who', only the Chinese and the US have proven ASAT capability at this time.
By far the mostly likely option is it will be left to re-enter own it's own, just like thousands of other larger objects.

Option 2 is basically impossible, the uncertainty spans several orbits right up until it re-enters.

A point- wouldn't it be futile to distroy the vehicle as the big pieces would still re-enter, just with more uncertainty as to where?
No. The main risk would be ~710 tons of (edit: potentially) frozen propellant. If you disperse that, there's very little to worry about, and equivalent and larger masses re-enter uncontrolled on a regular basis (like the Zenit 2nd stage that launched PG in the first place.)

edit:
One other thing to watch: Around Dec 13, PG will enter ~2 days of continuous daylight.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Targeteer on 12/02/2011 06:10 pm
With the Russians already paranoid about the extremely limited US Missile Defense capability, the US shooting down a Russian satellite, dead or not, probably would not be warmly received.

As for the effort the shoot down USA-193, it's been done once so in theory doing it again could go quicker because most or all of the problems have been worked out.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 12/02/2011 06:23 pm
2. Wait to see where it may re-enter and then decide?

Decide what?  We won't have a good idea where it's going to reenter until perhaps an hour before it does.  In fact, it might not be until a few days after reentry.
That is the question isn't it. So if we are unable to do so in meaningful timeframe, then one would think your answer would be option 1? Take it out now?

I'm not sure anyone has that capability.  If someone does and it isn't the Russians, who would pay for such a large effort?  And they'd likely have to get started right away.  Remember, the USA 193 thing took many weeks/months of planning and work.

I fear this discussion may be drifting from topicality, but if the GMD ABM system with its interceptors in Alaska and California doesn't currently have the capability to take out PG, the Missile Defense Agency has some 'splainin to do.

That said, I agree that the probability that anyone will take action against PG is at most minuscule.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 12/02/2011 06:39 pm
With the Russians already paranoid about the extremely limited US Missile Defense capability, the US shooting down a Russian satellite, dead or not, probably would not be warmly received.

As for the effort the shoot down USA-193, it's been done once so in theory doing it again could go quicker because most or all of the problems have been worked out.

The point is that unless it looked like it was determined to come down in a densely populated area in the US, there would be no intercept without the approval of the Russian Federation.  Given the current impasse over missile defense, the chances of that happening are slim to none.  There is also the issue of the Chinese orbiter (which I forgot to mention in my article in the Space Review).  Any intercept attempt would require the approval of both the Russian Federation and China.  The probability of both Russia and China giving their approval is closer to zilch then slim to none.  So unless the Russian Federation has an undeclared ASAT capability or China chooses to intervene, my guess is that the Russian Federation will allow it fall and hope that it does not turn into a Cosmos 954 redux or worse.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/02/2011 06:49 pm
if the GMD ABM system with its interceptors in Alaska and California doesn't currently have the capability to take out PG, the Missile Defense Agency has some 'splainin to do.
I don't think so. These are still fairly limited assets positioned to counter threats of ballistic missiles (and not objects coming from orbits) from specific directions (Northern Russia, North Korea, etc.) and there is no way you could cover all possible entry profiles of the PG heading for the US.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/02/2011 06:51 pm
I'm guessing this isn't the sort of thing where the Russian side will hold a presser or put out a statement if they have given up all hope and this is now a question of when it'll re-enter?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 12/02/2011 07:01 pm
I'm guessing this isn't the sort of thing where the Russian side will hold a presser or put out a statement if they have given up all hope and this is now a question of when it'll re-enter?

Russia did before Perth picked up access.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 12/02/2011 07:06 pm
I suspect one-off or not, operational or not, if it's tracked to populated areas, any nation that has the potential capability has the obligation to try.

I'm not so sure. Remember the common law dictum: "You break it, you buy it." More generally the last person who touches it, is responsible for it.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 12/02/2011 07:09 pm
If the fuel is frozen, that will be a large piece or several, how many tanks?
The idea is that the tanks are made from aluminium which burns quite lovely during reentry so if there is any frozen fuel it will unfreeze and explode.

That's one idea, but frozen propellants are immense reservoirs for sucking up heat as they thaw and then transport heat away from the hot forward skin.

Besides, haven't you ever boiled water in a paper 'Dixie Cup'? The paper survives the fire very very nicely, while there's water left.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/02/2011 07:10 pm
I'm guessing this isn't the sort of thing
You guessed correctly.
Many things changed since Soviet times but many are too depply engraved in their psychic to be changed anytime soon.
We should be greatful to have had all the info about this mission, photos, drawings, info abut the actual launch time but don't expect NASA style press briefings.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Prober on 12/02/2011 07:10 pm
I suspect one-off or not, operational or not, if it's tracked to populated areas, any nation that has the potential capability has the obligation to try.

I'm not so sure. Remember the common law dictum: "You break it, you buy it." More generally the last person who touches it, is responsible for it.



I agree, this is Russia's problem to fix.  Along those lines, couldn't the command to drop the tanks while in a long orbit over water be a good thing?

Sure it would fix the drop tank covering communications problem.

 
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/02/2011 07:14 pm
but frozen propellants are immense reservoirs for sucking up heat as they thaw and then transport heat away from the hot forward skin.
Provided they preserve the shape and integrity of a 'reservoir.' But if outer layers explode everything could get broken into hundreds/thousands of tiny pieces and you no longer have this 'reservoir' to speak of.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 12/02/2011 07:16 pm
I suspect one-off or not, operational or not, if it's tracked to populated areas, any nation that has the potential capability has the obligation to try.

I'm not so sure. Remember the common law dictum: "You break it, you buy it." More generally the last person who touches it, is responsible for it.



I agree, this is Russia's problem to fix.  Along those lines, couldn't the command to drop the tanks while in a long orbit over water be a good thing?

Sure it would fix the drop tank covering communications problem.

 

And along those lines it is their legal responsibility if it impacts land and causes damage.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: hop on 12/02/2011 07:17 pm
Russia did before Perth picked up access.
This claim contradicts available evidence. Perth wouldn't have been trying if the Russians had given up completely, and there's no evidence that Russian ground stations had stopped trying.
I agree, this is Russia's problem to fix.  Along those lines, couldn't the command to drop the tanks while in a long orbit over water be a good thing?
Huh ? The immediate problem is that they have no ability to command the spacecraft. If they did, there's a whole lot of things they could do.
Quote
Sure it would fix the drop tank covering communications problem.
This "problem" was rumor, never confirmed by any reliable sources. The actual configuration of the spacecraft suggests it's not a major problem.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: wolfpack on 12/02/2011 07:17 pm
With the Russians already paranoid about the extremely limited US Missile Defense capability, the US shooting down a Russian satellite, dead or not, probably would not be warmly received.

No. It would make for a very awkward situation in the next Soyuz capsule as well!
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rdale on 12/02/2011 07:30 pm
No. It would make for a very awkward situation in the next Soyuz capsule as well!

In what way? Have you heard of Apollo-Soyuz?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/02/2011 07:56 pm
In what way? Have you heard of Apollo-Soyuz?
I don't have any problem understanding what he was referring to.
Any such shoot-down could be received by Russian as 'aggression' or violation of their property or showing off US might in space (you can do it, we can't), etc, etc. Nothing of the sort adds to warm fuzzy feeling in combined manned space missions. And lets face it, Apollo-Soyuz was a highly choreographed political endeavour during times when Cold War was still very much raging on.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/02/2011 08:05 pm
If the fuel is frozen, that will be a large piece or several, how many tanks?
The idea is that the tanks are made from aluminium which burns quite lovely during reentry so if there is any frozen fuel it will unfreeze and explode.

That's one idea, but frozen propellants are immense reservoirs for sucking up heat as they thaw and then transport heat away from the hot forward skin.

Besides, haven't you ever boiled water in a paper 'Dixie Cup'? The paper survives the fire very very nicely, while there's water left.

It's a great deal of fun, in an immensely frustrating sort of way, to try to solder plumbing pipes together while there's still a bit of water in them.  The water just laughs in the face of the flame of three torches.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: rdale on 12/02/2011 08:27 pm
In what way? Have you heard of Apollo-Soyuz?
I don't have any problem understanding what he was referring to.
Any such shoot-down could be received by Russian as 'aggression' or violation of their property or showing off US might in space (you can do it, we can't), etc, etc.

Obviously the US wouldn't do that without Russian prompting. If the Russians asked the Americans to shoot it down, how could the Russians would take that as an act of aggression?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/02/2011 08:30 pm
Obviously the US wouldn't do that without Russian prompting. If the Russians asked the Americans to shoot it down, how could the Russians would take that as an act of aggression?

History is not on your side, they will not ask...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: JimO on 12/02/2011 08:35 pm
Another in-depth Russian story on the space industry:

Почему российские самолеты падают, а спутники не летают
Нина АСТАФЬЕВА
01/12/2011 
http://www.online812.ru/2011/12/01/001/
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 12/02/2011 10:05 pm
Obviously the US wouldn't do that without Russian prompting. If the Russians asked the Americans to shoot it down, how could the Russians would take that as an act of aggression?

History is not on your side, they will not ask...

Actually I believe then-Soviet history would show that outside help is asked for only when it is too late.  That way the outside help can be blamed.

However, I don't believe near-term Russian history shows the same trend - although I would like to be educated if it has.

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/02/2011 10:17 pm
However, I don't believe near-term Russian history shows the same trend - although I would like to be educated if it has.
They will never ask because this implies a weakness on their part, that they can't do something, that they are no longer a super-power, they are exteremly sensitive to such subliminal messages specially in front of their own people. If they asked it would have been such a colossal change in their attitude that they might have as well dropped all objections to anti-balistic defenses planned in Europe, etc, etc. People who even for a second believe they will ask live in some sort of fantasy land or never really understood how Russians operate. Yes, if they were Canadians, British or French they would most likely asked but they are not.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Lee Jay on 12/02/2011 10:39 pm
They will never ask because this implies a weakness on their part, that they can't do something, that they are no longer a super-power,...

Not asking is an even more obvious sign of weakness.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/03/2011 12:36 am
Let's try and keep it on the spacecraft guys. If no announcement is the way they want to do things, that's their business. This isn't about being a superpower or not.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: WhoGivesASchmitt on 12/03/2011 08:31 am
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16010332

Looks like ESA has given up trying to help the Russians on this now. All very sad really.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: geza on 12/03/2011 09:27 am
Look this:
http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/12/03/61414605.html

The title says "Attempt at manual control of Phobos-Grunt". The picture shows the whole s/c intact with the lander engines firing. If I suppose that the article is not just bogus, then I have to assume that they want to raise orbit by the lander engine, instead of the Fregat-derived stage. The last paragraph:

"According to European experts, there is now no chance that the "Phobos-Grunt Probe" will reach Mars. Now specialists are only attempting to save the very station itself."

I am not sure if "manual control" means anything in this context. Maybe, it means that they are going to improvise as they have nothing to lose...
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 12/03/2011 11:32 am
According to this article from Ria Novosti (Google translated), Russian operators may attempt to start the main engine and fly the craft blindly.  Not withstanding a bad Google translation, isn't that like driving a car blind-folded down a busy freeway?  Does the potential exist for Phobos Grunt to inadvertently be boosted into the orbital path of other space objects?

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fria.ru%2Fscience%2F20111202%2F504901731.html
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Rocket Science on 12/03/2011 12:01 pm
Uh, OK…  ::)

(Which way was up again..?)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 12/03/2011 02:40 pm
According to this article from Ria Novosti (Google translated), Russian operators may attempt to start the main engine and fly the craft blindly.  Not withstanding a bad Google translation, isn't that like driving a car blind-folded down a busy freeway?  Does the potential exist for Phobos Grunt to inadvertently be boosted into the orbital path of other space objects?

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fria.ru%2Fscience%2F20111202%2F504901731.html

That happened a few days ago.  Check about 10 pages back - it didn't work.  No communications were available to send the command.  And, yes, it did seem kind-of desparate to me.



Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Michael J on 12/03/2011 04:55 pm
The way I read this article it looks like something the Russian controllers are going to try this weekend without the assistance of ESA.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 12/03/2011 06:04 pm
And now we wait.
From Heavens-Above:

Orbit: 208 x 304 km, 51.4° (Epoch Dec 2)
                              207 x 302 km, 51.4° (Epoch Dec 3)
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/03/2011 06:09 pm
Does the potential exist for Phobos Grunt to inadvertently be boosted into the orbital path of other space objects?
A sensible thing to do if firing blindly would be to fire in such a moment when engines are pointing in the direction of the flight to achieve a slowdown and to speed up the demise of the probe in the atmosphere. That would be the most responsible thing to do. But it assumes knowing the approximate orientation of the probe, etc. I agree with you that raising the orbit (without the full escape) would be the worst outcome. But frankly I don't think for a moment that any firing will happen.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 12/03/2011 06:42 pm
According to this article from Ria Novosti (Google translated), Russian operators may attempt to start the main engine and fly the craft blindly.  Not withstanding a bad Google translation, isn't that like driving a car blind-folded down a busy freeway?  Does the potential exist for Phobos Grunt to inadvertently be boosted into the orbital path of other space objects?

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fria.ru%2Fscience%2F20111202%2F504901731.html (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fria.ru%2Fscience%2F20111202%2F504901731.html)

That happened a few days ago.  Check about 10 pages back - it didn't work.  No communications were available to send the command.  And, yes, it did seem kind of desperate to me.

But wasn't that an attempt go send the orbit raising command through the ESA station in Perth?

This was in the article:

"Another  participant in the teleconference, Manfred Warhaut, head of the ESA Space Operations, explained that the purpose was to raise "Phobos-Grunt" to a greater altitude, to buy time for further searching for  solutions."

I would agree that this would be irresponsible.  "into the orbital path of other space objects" is the defining characteristic of space debris.  If all they can do is fire the engine, they should deorbit the spacecraft.

If, big if, the craft is sufficiently functional to orient to the Sun, then some small interval before it goes into eclipse the spacecraft is horizontal.  Looking at an illustration of the orbit, this now occurs at high latitude, which may come into sight of the Russian ground stations for one or more orbits a day. The engine would be pointing close to the velocity vector.  If, another big if, they could turn on the engine at that point, it would tend to reduce the orbit, possibly leading to deorbit.  The track then would go over the Indian Ocean, Australia, or the Pacific.  That's a mostly empty target for a blind shot.

edit: What olasek said!

Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/03/2011 06:43 pm
Does the potential exist for Phobos Grunt to inadvertently be boosted into the orbital path of other space objects?
A sensible thing to do if firing blindly would be to fire in such a moment when engines are pointing in the direction of the flight to achieve a slowdown and to speed up the demise of the probe in the atmosphere. That would be the most responsible thing to do. But it assumes knowing the approximate orientation of the probe, etc. I agree with you that raising the orbit (without the full escape) would be the worst outcome. But frankly I don't think for a moment that any firing will happen.
That doesn't make sense. If you're firing blindly to slow it down, you still have no idea where it'll come down, so the risk is at least as high as doing nothing at all. If you fire blindly to raise the orbit, you have a slightly greater chance of reestablishing better communications with the probe, allowing the possibility of either a controlled reentry (i.e. hello Pacific Ocean) or some sort of "Hail Mary" mission save.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Comga on 12/03/2011 07:11 pm
Does the potential exist for Phobos Grunt to inadvertently be boosted into the orbital path of other space objects?
A sensible thing to do if firing blindly would be to fire in such a moment when engines are pointing in the direction of the flight to achieve a slowdown and to speed up the demise of the probe in the atmosphere. That would be the most responsible thing to do. But it assumes knowing the approximate orientation of the probe, etc. I agree with you that raising the orbit (without the full escape) would be the worst outcome. But frankly I don't think for a moment that any firing will happen.
That doesn't make sense. If you're firing blindly to slow it down, you still have no idea where it'll come down, so the risk is at least as high as doing nothing at all. If you fire blindly to raise the orbit, you have a slightly greater chance of reestablishing better communications with the probe, allowing the possibility of either a controlled reentry (i.e. hello Pacific Ocean) or some sort of "Hail Mary" mission save.

I think it DOES make sense.  IF P-G is maintaining orientation to the Sun, the firing is not totally blind, and the probability of it deorbiting into the ocean could be increased.  Plus, it would decrease the amount of hydrazine onboard.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/03/2011 07:48 pm
Does the If you're firing blindly to slow it down, you still have no idea where it'll come down,
Strongly disagree. The Pacific is vast, if you start firing at certain locations you are pretty damn sure it would still come down in the Pacific regardless how long the engine fires( assuming minimum delta-v of 80 m/s). But like always we are wasting words, no firing will ever occur, I could bet my house on it, this whole discussion is just about as constructive and academic as discussing when an asteroid will hit the Earth. I think more fun is to start taking bets when it will actually come down and when.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Jim on 12/03/2011 08:07 pm
Does the If you're firing blindly to slow it down, you still have no idea where it'll come down,
Strongly disagree. The Pacific is vast, if you start firing at certain locations you are pretty damn sure it would still come down in the Pacific regardless how long the engine fires( assuming minimum delta-v of 80 m/s). But like always we are wasting words, no firing will ever occur, I could bet my house on it, this whole discussion is just about as constructive and academic as discussing when an asteroid will hit the Earth. I think more fun is to start taking bets when it will actually come down and when.

You are wrong and Robotbeat is right.  It is blind.  solar fixed attitude is useless for deorbit.  Deorbit orientation is -velocity vector and solar fixed is seldom that
Length of burn determines delta V.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: alk3997 on 12/04/2011 12:38 am
Does the If you're firing blindly to slow it down, you still have no idea where it'll come down,
Strongly disagree. The Pacific is vast, if you start firing at certain locations you are pretty damn sure it would still come down in the Pacific regardless how long the engine fires( assuming minimum delta-v of 80 m/s). But like always we are wasting words, no firing will ever occur, I could bet my house on it, this whole discussion is just about as constructive and academic as discussing when an asteroid will hit the Earth. I think more fun is to start taking bets when it will actually come down and when.

Not sure what you are betting your house on, but if it is all space objects re-enter in the Pacific, I'll take that action.

Here's the way it works...If you are in a low Earth orbit, you are traveling about 17,500 miles per hour.  The apogee and perigee of the orbit are above most of the atmosphere, which is why you don't slow down and stay on-orbit.  To deorbit, some part of the orbit ends up within the atmosphere.  To target a particular spot, the orbit targeting (important word) puts the spacecraft's perigee far into the atmosphere then atmospheric drag does the rest after entry interface.

If you attempt to deorbit wrong, you'll probably skip off the atmosphere or have entry interface somewhere where you don't want it.  BTW, Shuttle deorbits were done by just slowing down about 200 - 250 miles per hour.  But that was done to lower perigee.  If we had done the same thing to lower apogee we would not have deorbited on many missions and we certainly would have been in trouble for landing.

Andy
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: olasek on 12/04/2011 01:22 am
Not sure what you are betting your house on,
I bet no burn will happen so the discussion is purely academic. If I were Russians and knew more about the spacecraft and its exact state I would carefully evaluate probabilities since it may turn out totally blind firing will only makes things worse.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: i2000s on 12/04/2011 03:36 am
And now we wait.
From Heavens-Above:

Orbit: 208 x 304 km, 51.4° (Epoch Dec 2)
                              207 x 302 km, 51.4° (Epoch Dec 3)

Is the orbit raised up or pulled down? It has been in an orbit around 100+km or so before?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Sparky on 12/04/2011 04:17 am
According to http://twitter.com/#!/PhobosGrunt (http://twitter.com/#!/PhobosGrunt)

Quote
Apparently a couple of objects of fairly small size drifted away from Phobos-Grunt on Nov 29 and were catalogued by USSTRATCOM

If parts of the spacecraft are already falling off, it's probably a safe bet that it's not going anywhere except where it's current orbit takes it.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/04/2011 05:40 am
If they regain control (with a functional propulsion system) but cannot save the mission at all, one possibility instead of destructive reentry could be to send it on a heliocentric disposal orbit, on an Earth-escape trajectory. They should have plenty of delta-v for such a maneuver, and it may pose even less risk than a guided reentry would.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Kaputnik on 12/04/2011 09:45 am
Any quesses as to what bits have fallen off the spacecraft? Presumably the torodial tank is an obvious one, or the sample return module?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: kevin-rf on 12/04/2011 11:03 am
How about an insulation blanket?
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Apollo-phill on 12/04/2011 11:40 am

Just a thinking process  here but how about this hypothesis  :-


Did the   commands of Nov 29 actually get received and caused -

the engine tanks to pressurise and attempt to ignite engines but didn't .  But sufficient s/c dynamics due pressurisisation too "shake/disturb" s/c causing small items be dislodged and enter their own orbits which are being detected now ?


or a somewhat similar scenario where Nov 29 commands caused some disturbance of s/c ?


A-P
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Orbiter on 12/04/2011 12:38 pm
And now we wait.
From Heavens-Above:

Orbit: 208 x 304 km, 51.4° (Epoch Dec 2)
                              207 x 302 km, 51.4° (Epoch Dec 3)

Is the orbit raised up or pulled down? It has been in an orbit around 100+km or so before?

Being dragged down by atmospheric drag, eventually it's going to burn up soon, sometime next year.

Orbiter
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 12/04/2011 02:24 pm
...eventually it's going to burn up soon, sometime next year.

Sometime next year currently looks like the first half of January, five or six weeks from now.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/04/2011 02:26 pm
Did the   commands of Nov 29 actually get received and caused -

the engine tanks to pressurise and attempt to ignite engines but didn't .  But sufficient s/c dynamics due pressurisation too "shake/disturb" s/c causing small items be dislodged and enter their own orbits which are being detected now ?

This lends itself to my current theory that the fault is in the propulsion system rather than anything control system-based.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Chris Bergin on 12/04/2011 04:57 pm
...eventually it's going to burn up soon, sometime next year.

Sometime next year currently looks like the first half of January, five or six weeks from now.

Is that pretty much the fate now? The manual attempts - as previously noted on the Russian side - is throwing me off a bit.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: Ben the Space Brit on 12/04/2011 05:21 pm
...eventually it's going to burn up soon, sometime next year.

Sometime next year currently looks like the first half of January, five or six weeks from now.

Is that pretty much the fate now? The manual attempts - as previously noted on the Russian side - is throwing me off a bit.

Every indication is that every attempt to communicate with the probe before the infamous 'bleep' picked up in Perth have failed, Chris.  Even then, there is some evidence of a MPS failure of some kind that is preventing any burns from taking place.

IMHO, the probe is doomed.  Everything else is just Roscosmos trying CYA.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: seshagirib on 12/04/2011 05:32 pm
Did the   commands of Nov 29 actually get received and caused -

the engine tanks to pressurise and attempt to ignite engines but didn't .  But sufficient s/c dynamics due pressurisation too "shake/disturb" s/c causing small items be dislodged and enter their own orbits which are being detected now ?

This lends itself to my current theory that the fault is in the propulsion system rather than anything control system-based.
if it is indeed the case, that main propulsion is faulty, and control communication systems are ok, it should be possible to fire the pyros(?) and break up the craft into its component modules, making rentry safer.
Title: Re: LIVE: Fobos-Grunt Troubleshooting Latest (Part 2)
Post by: ChileVerde on 12/04/2011 05:46 pm