Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Today is the day for Fobos-Grunt aka Phobos Grunt aka Фобос-Грунт (I think?) to launch on a historic mission to dock with Phobos and then attempt to return a sample to the Earth. This is among the most daring unmanned missions of all time.
Here is the video footage of the launch from a few hours ago today (night time in Russia.)
"Zenit-2SB carrying Fobos-Grunt & Yinghuo-1" Yes there is also a Chinese spacecraft on this mission, the Yinghuo 1 is a really cute spacecraft that is just over 100 kg in mass. The Chinese space program is growing by leaps and bounds, as this is their first (but hopefully not last) visit to Mars.
This is a good animation showing the expected mission: