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Programmers are to be blamed for the failure of Phobos mission

Program failure brought about the simultaneous re-start of two working channels of the on-board computer complex

The interdepartmental commission established that it is the programmers who are to blame for the failure of the Phobos-Grunt mission. The commission headed by Yuri Koptev, president of the scientific and technical council of the state-owned Rostechnologia Corporation, submitted on Monday the results of the analysis of the reasons for the crash of the automatic interplanetary station to Vladimir Popovkin, head of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

External impact on the station versions were analyzed by the commission, who concluded that they were not supported by facts, Kommersant reports. The commission came to the conclusion that the most probable reason could be a mistake made during the programming of the on-board computer complex of the Phobos.

The Phobos-Grunt station was launched on the night of November 8, 2011 from the Baikonur cosmodrome on the Zenit-2SB booster rocket, the newspaper writes. The station was separated from the rocket in a normal way, but several hours later its engine did not turn on. As a result, the station remained on the basic near-Earth orbit until January 15, when, according to the information of the Russian Space Defense Troops, its fragments sank in the Pacific 1,250 kilometers away from the Wellington Island of Chile.

According to Kommersant, the final report of the commission says that the main reason for the accident was “ program failure, which brought about the simultaneous re-start of two working channels of the on-board computer complex.” A source in the rocket and space industry told Kommersant that “members of the commission rejected all explanations connected with the external impact on the station.”