back to article Duff Mars probe team sweats under Medvedev menaces

Lost Martian probe Phobos-Grunt has gone back to its silent orbiting again, remaining unresponsive to Russian space agency attempts to contact it on Monday night. Roscosmos was trying to order the module to raise its orbit, but the probe didn't respond, state news agency RIA Novosti reported. "The sessions, which have been …


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  1. IglooDude

    "He added that the agency would double its efforts."

    What a fantastically typical spokespersonish thing to say. Instead of "we'll continue to dig and figure out more ways to troubleshoot and fix this problem", it comes across as "we'll shout twice as loud".

    1. Midnight

      Where have I heard that phrase before?

      "We shall double our efforts!"

      "I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am. "

    2. Steve Knox

      Yes, it sounds just like what a mid-level administrator would say when threatened with corporal punishment...

      "We shall double our efforts."

      "I hope so, Commander, for your sake."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I am not suggesting putting them up against the wall like under Josef Vissarionovich (Stalin), but seriously punish either financially or, if the fault is obvious, it could be a disciplinary or even criminal punishment,"

    Medvedev, like Putin really don't seem to have a clue about getting the best out of their staff. Shit happens. Even with the best planning and engineering It can't always be avoided.

    Failure Is Not an Option

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Medvedev - the REAL BOFH!

  3. Richard Boyce

    The emperor is most displeased

    Roscosmos: Welcome, President Medvedev. This is an unexpected pleasure. We are honoured by your presence.

    Medvedev: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule.

    Roscosmos: I assure you, President Medvedev, my men are working as fast they can.

    Medvedev: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.

    Roscosmos: I tell you that this spacecraft will be operational as planned.

    Medvedev: Prime Minister Putin does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.

    Roscosmos: But he asks the impossible! I need more men!

    Medvedev: Then perhaps you can tell him yourself when he arrives.

    Roscosmos: [alarmed] The Prime Minister's coming here?

    Medvedev: That is correct, Commander, and he is most displeased with your apparent lack of progress.

    Roscosmos: We shall double our efforts.

    Medvedev: I hope so, Commander, for your sake. Prime Minister Putin is not as forgiving as I am.

  4. Christoph

    Punish any failures?

    If he is going to punish people for not getting an extremely complex system perfectly right, presumably he will similarly punish himself for any failure of his political and economic policies?

    1. Peter Rathlev

      What failures...?

  5. Bunker_Monkey

    Its broken...

    Just shoot the thing down and be done with it....

    (How very un-scientific)

  6. Muscleguy

    Look in the Kremlin

    The culprit is probably Putin for insisting they do things on a shoestring. If you cut corners then things stop working. It also leaves less money for testing.

  7. Fractured Cell


    If only we had a reuseable craft with a large enough bay to fit a satellite in. We could just nip up, grab it, and have it back down to the russians before beer 'o clock.

    Oh, wait....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Would probably be cheaper to just build a new satellite

  8. Alain Moran

    Yay, what a great way to motivate your people

    For sure, I've always found that standing over your employees shoulders and threatening them is a great way to get the best work out of them ... NOT!

  9. lotus49

    Slightly better than Uncle Joe

    Now there's an appealing self assessment from Medvedev. "I'm slightly less brutal and unreasonable than the greatest mass murderer in human history." How's that for low standards.

    I feel sorry for the unfortunate people of Russia.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      "...the greatest mass murderer in human history.

      Is there a league table somewhere of famous historical scrotes, ranked by the number of deaths directly attributable to their actions?

      I wonder what the reaction of a certain famous German leader would be to finding out he's playing second fiddle to Uncle Joe? There may be a film clip of this that just needs the right subtitles.......

      1. Snapper


        you need to read a little more history?

  10. James Smith 3

    Too much pressure

    With such fantastic opportunities to win a large fine or even imprisonment, what's the betting that everyone involved has suddenly lost the appetite to work out exactly what went wrong?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty'

    So someone is guilty are they?

    It won't be long before Putin's Puppet starts accusing Roscosmos of 'sabotage'.

    They might want to start looking at why their budget for a Mars mission was $163 million when NASA's equivalents cost ten times as much.

  12. Local Group

    "I'll have mashed potatoes with my gifilte fish"

    "Dmitry Medvedev, has said he is mulling criminal prosecution for the poor buggers."

    Wake me up when their trial begins.

    Of course, Medvedev would say that. He makes it look like Phobos-Grunt's lamentable condition is a result of the incompetence of the Russian scientists. Except everybody knows it was launched as a LEO missle aimed at the steam table of the cafeteria at Dimona.

    Everybody who thinks Iran's oil fields, like Iraq's last decade, are going to be deposited into America's and NATO's World Bank account, please raise your hands.

  13. Jim Birch
    Paris Hilton

    As usual, Stalin gets held up as Mr Bad Guy because he's no longer around to defend himself.

  14. despairing citizen
    Big Brother

    political spin control

    and the sudden interest is nothing to do with the russian parlimentary elections on Sunday?

    or the presidential elections next year?

  15. Spud2go

    Phobos - Grunt?

    or Fubar - Groan?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A worse possibility

    Is that the scapegoats are being preemptively identified for when it is discovered that Phobos-Grunt and/or it's passenger are actually nuclear powered.

  17. Local Group

    The Sounds of Silence

    "Launched November 9 to collect a surface sample from the larger of Mars’ two moons, Phobos, the 13-ton spacecraft was to be boosted from its initial parking orbit low in Earth’s skies within hours after reaching space, when the engine of its Fregat upper stage failed to ignite. Thought to have reverted to safe mode, Phobos-Grunt has been flying straight and periodically adjusting her orbit using small thruster engines. While this maneuvering has extended the amount of time that the probe can remain in space before reentering Earth’s atmosphere, ground controllers have been struggling to establish a communication link."



    "Israel tones down threats to Iran   November 17 -23, 2011

    "With Iran on an international charm offensive, for now Israel appears edging back from bellicose threats to strike its nuclear facilities, writes Khaled Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

    Having succeeded in alerting the international community, especially Western powers, to the "immediate Iranian nuclear danger", Israel has been toning down its threats to carry out imminent air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

    Israel, which has a huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, including an estimated 200-250 nuclear weapons, claims Iran is on the verge of producing a nuclear device.

    Israeli pugnacity reached its height last week when Israeli President Shimon Peres said during a televised interview that the chances of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear targets were becoming more probable than ever, especially after the release of an IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) report on Iran."



    So Phobos Grunt fails to get out of LEO, while Ruski gremlins keep it in a steady orbit.

    Netanyahu and Lieberman's mouths are full of chopped liver since P-G failed to go into higher orbit and not full of threats to attack the reactor at Bushehr.

    Does Phobos-Grunt have MIRVs? If so are they atomic? Has an ultimatum been made privately to Bibi?

    Has anybody seen what's on P-G's manifest or Bill of Lading?

    Hasn't Tel Aviv toned it down since Phobos-Grunt?

  18. Anonymous Cowbard

    In Soviet Russia

    Mars probes you

    1. Cardinal

      Then they take you down to the cellar for a 'Space shot'.

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