“MOSCOW – Russia’s failed Mars probe could come crashing down to Earth in January unless scientists can find a way to blast it out of low-Earth orbit, the head of the Roscosmos space agency said Monday.
The unmanned Phobos-Grunt spacecraft blasted off toward the Red Planet last Wednesday where it was hoped to bring back rock and soil samples from the moon Phobos.
But its engines failed to put in the correct course, and the craft only managed to reach an orbit about 125 miles from Earth. Scientists were still trying to regain communication with spacecraft.
“We estimate that the Phobos-Grunt will fly until January, and to make it perform its mission, we still have time until the beginning of December,” Roscosmos general director Vladimir Popovkin was quoted as saying by the Ria Novosti news agency.
Popovkin said there was little chance that the probe would hit a populated area when it crashed down.
‘There are 7.5 metric tons of fuel in the aluminum tanks on board. We have no doubts that they will explode [and destroy the probe] upon re-entry,’ Popovkin said. ‘It is highly unlikely that its parts would reach Earth.'” Source – Fox News.
Phobos-Grunt: a legal analysis of potential liability and options for mitigation – “For the third time in as many months the potential exists for a large space object to fall out of orbit and impact the surface of the Earth. Unlike the prior two incidents where the space objects involved were derelict research satellites, the space object in question is a probe launched by the Russian Federation on November 9, 2011, destined to travel to Mars… A preliminary date for reentry is November 26, according to one report, but Russian officials report it could stay in orbit for up to sixty days. Obviously, as the decay of the spacecraft’s orbit progresses, these timelines will change.” Read more.
Source: Hundreds of North Korean Nuclear and Missile Experts Working in More Than 10 Locations Across Iran
By Kim Kwang-tae – “SEOUL, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) — Hundreds of North Korean nuclear and missile experts have been collaborating with their Iranian counterparts in more than 10 locations across the Islamic state, a diplomatic source said Sunday.
The revelation lends credence to long-held suspicions that North Korea was helping Iran with a secret nuclear and missile program.
It also represents a new security challenge to the international community as it seeks to curb the nuclear ambitions of Pyongyang and Tehran, and thwart trading of nuclear and missile technology.
North Korea has long been suspected of being behind nuclear and missile proliferation in Iran, Syria, Myanmar and Pakistan.
‘Hundreds of North Korean nuclear and missile engineers and scientists have been working at more than 10 sites (in Iran), including Natanz and Qom,’ the source said, citing human intelligence he declined to identify for security reasons.
The source would not allow the specific number of North Koreans to be published, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, and would not give further details on the extent of the collaboration. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the issue.” Read more.
Flashback: Iran, North Korea to Discuss ‘Expansion of Cooperation’ in Talks – “A top Iranian official is scheduled to make an official visit to North Korea, the Islamic Republic announced on Tuesday, in order to discuss ‘expansion of cooperation’ with Pyongyang. The trip underlines the close ties between the two nations. Israel and the West suspect Iran is trying to use its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons, and that North Korea had been aiding Iran by providing Iran with advanced missiles capable of targeting European capitals. An announcement released on the Iranian parliament’s website on Tuesday indicated that parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, will arrive in Pyongyang for a three-day visit beginning Sunday.” Read more.