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Phobos-Grunt chips supposedly were counterfeit

January 31, 2012, 16:07 UTC+3

The situation was caused by restarting of two parts of the onboard computer system, so-called double restart

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VORONEZH, January 31 (Itar-Tass) —— The failure of the Phobos-Grunt mission supposedly was caused by the influence of heavy charged particles of space on the chips, which may have been counterfeit, Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) head Vladimir Popovkin said on Tuesday, reporting about the results of the interdepartmental commission's investigating work.

The situation was caused by restarting of two parts of the onboard computer system, so-called double restart. So, the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft switched to the scheme of energy saving and waiting for the command. The most probable cause of the restart, according to the commission, was the local influence of heavy charged particles of space, which caused malfunction of the memory system during the second circuit in the orbit, Popovkin said.

Though there are no specific regulations, in the so large-scale long work, the influence of space on the systems of the interplanetary station was expected to be taken into consideration. For this, officials of the Lavochkin Scientific and Production Association were administratively punished, the Roscosmos chief said.

Popovkin does not rule out that the influence was destructive for the chips because supposedly they were counterfeit.

If to speak about the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft in detail, its chips, unlike those earlier used in the Fregat, were less, but it was an imported component base, he noted. The cause probably is in this, he believes. The problem is not only domestic. Inquiries are conducted in NASA and the U.S. Defence Department over counterfeiting of such products, Popovkin said.


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