Fobos-Grunt or Phobos-Grunt (Russian: Фобос-Грунт, literally "Phobos-Ground") was an attempted Russian sample return mission to Phobos, one of the moons of Mars. Fobos-Grunt also carried the Chinese Mars orbiter Yinghuo-1 and the tiny Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment funded by the Planetary Society.
It was launched on 9 November 2011 at 02:16 local time (8 November 2011, 20:16 UTC) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, but subsequent rocket burns intended to set the craft on a course for Mars failed, leaving it stranded in low Earth orbit. Efforts to reactivate the craft were unsuccessful, and it fell back to Earth in an uncontrolled re-entry on 15 January 2012, over the Pacific Ocean west of Chile. The return vehicle was to have returned to Earth in August 2014, carrying up to 200 g of soil from Phobos.
Funded by the Russian Federal Space Agency and developed by Lavochkin and the Russian Space Research Institute, Fobos-Grunt was the first Russian-led interplanetary mission since the failed Mars 96. The last successful interplanetary missions were the Soviet Vega 2 in 1985–1986, and the partially successful Fobos 2 in 1988–1989. Fobos-Grunt was designed to become the first spacecraft to return a macroscopic sample from an extraterrestrial body since Luna 24 in 1976. (Hayabusa returned microscopic grains of asteroid material in 2010, and Stardust returned cometary dust in 2006.)
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