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2nd stage of Phobos carrier Zenit may come into atmosphere this Mon

November 14, 2011, 12:33 UTC+3

Specialists have 14 days after the spacecraft liftoff to "reanimate" the station

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MOSCOW, November 14 (Itar-Tass) —— The second stage of the Zenit-2SB rocket, which carried the Phobos-Grunt interplanetary station to space, may come into the dense atmosphere layers this Monday, according to the American Strategic Command.

Meanwhile, Russian and foreign ground stations continue making attempts to establish contact with the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, which remains in a low earth orbit.

The work is unsuccessful so far, Russian space industry sources told Itar-Tass. The Federal Space Agency Roscosmos has indirectly confirmed it.

Attempts to receive the telemetric data from the station have been made by European, American and Russian specialists when the station was within their visibility zones.

The U.S. Strategic Command's website continues to warn that Phobos-Grunt may fall onto Earth on November 26. The warning about the second stage of the Zenit rocket is given for November 14. According to experts, it is expected mainly to burn up in the atmosphere.

The Zenit rocket with the Phobos soil probe was launched from Baikonur on November 9. The station was put into a low earth orbit, from where with two starts of the propulsion system, it was to move to the path to Mars. For some reasons unknown so far, the system failed to give the command for the first propulsion start.

Specialists have 14 days after the spacecraft liftoff to "reanimate" the station.

The "dry" weight of the second stage is 8,307 kilogrammes. It is 10.4 metres long. The Zenit-2SB has non-toxic propellant components.

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