Does Russia Blame HAARP Transmitter For Phobos-Grunt Failure?

Posted on December 23, 2011

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After abandoning efforts to save its Martian moon probe, Phobos-Grunt, that has been stranded in Earth’s orbit since early November, Russia is now focusing on where the blame lies for the expensive mishap. The accused: Alaska’s High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) transmitter.

Phobos-Grunt, now considered a 7.5 ton heap of space debris, is expected to plunge back to Earth around January 9, two months after it became stranded, according to Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has called for criminal prosecution for those responsible for failing to fulfill the country’s dream to finally launch a successful mission to Mars.

Shortly after Medvedev’s statement, a former Russian general found a more convenient scapegoat, placing blame on the often controversial radio facility outside Gakona for stopping Russia’s mission to the Red Planet.

Lt. Gen. Nikolay Rodionov, a retired commander of Russia’s ballistic missile early warning system, said US technology could have been the cause of the malfunction.

In a November 24 interview with the Russian news agency Interfax, Rodionov said “powerful American radars” in Alaska “could have influenced the control systems of our interplanetary rover.”

Rodionov was quoted as saying the US wants to use the ionosphere as part of its missile defense, although he did not elaborate. India’s ‘The Hindu’ newspaper reported the Rodionov was likely referring to the US’s HAARP observatory, established in 1993.

Red Orbit

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