Claims U.S. Radar May Have Interfered With Mars Probe
In what sounds like a return to Cold War rhetoric, Russian space
officials are suggesting that interference from U.S. radar
installations may have caused the failure of its Phobos-Grunt Mars
While saying the exposure was possibly unintentional, Yury
Koptev the head of the scientific committee of state technology
company Russian Technologies told the RIA-Novosti news agency that
such a theory exists. A former head of Roscosmos said tests will be
conducted in which equipment "similar" to that used on Phobos-Grunt
will be exposed to radiation that mimics exposure to U.S. radars.
The test will be one of several conducted by Roscosmos in an
attempt to determine why contact was lost with the probe, which
splashed down in pieces in the Pacific ocean Sunday.
The French news service AFP reports that the Russians first
raised the possibility of outside interference with its probe last
week. The current head of Roscosmos Vladimir Popovkin openly said
failures of its spacecraft often occurred over the western
hemisphere. While he did not come right out and say the U.S. was
deliberately causing the problems, "...today there are some very
powerful countermeasures that can be used against spacecraft whose
use we cannot exclude," he told the Izvestia daily on January
Phobos-Grunt was the most recent in a string of Russian space
failures, which included an unmanned Progress re-supply ship to
ISS, and several military and civilian satellites.