Saturday, December 17, 2011

Did U.S. Radar Research Station Disable Russia's Phobos Probe?

Off the Beam: Did a U.S. Radar Research Station Disable Russia's Phobos Probe?

Soon after the ill-fated Phobos-Grunt spacecraft stalled in Earth orbit, a former Russian official implicated "powerful American radars" in Alaska. Is there a basis to the claim, or is it just scapegoating?

atmosphere, satellite,space,mars HF ANTENNA ARRAY: A retired commander of Russia's ballistic missile early warning system implied that the U.S.'s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) observatory in Alaska interfered with the Mars-bound Phobos-Grunt probe. HAARP is often a target of conspiracy theorists. Image: Courtesy of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) 
After 19 attempts over 51 years, Russia has yet to chalk up a fully successful mission to Mars. That includes its ambitious Phobos–Grunt probe, launched November 8 from Kazakhstan and now stranded in low Earth orbit. Unable to regain control of the spacecraft, the Russians now expect it to fall back to Earth around January 9.

Responding to shame over the nation's Mars program, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has threatened to criminally prosecute those responsible if possible. Soon after Medvedev's comments, a former high-ranking Russian officer found a more convenient scapegoat in a remote Alaskan radar facility. But an analysis of the timing and physics involved shows that there is little basis for the claim.



Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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