Russia has again been unsuccessful in its attempt to establish contact with its Phobos Grunt probe, whose engines failed to put in on course for Mars after take-off, a source in the space rocket industry said Saturday.
The craft, designed to bring back rock and soil samples from the Martian moon, Phobos, is currently stuck in a "support orbit." It blasted off from the Baikonour Space Centre in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.
"Attempts to make contact were made overnight and this morning by Russian specialists from the European Space Agency. This was done from Baikonour and other tracking areas, but contact was not established," the source said.
He also said Russia was being assisted by US scientists and had until Nov 21 to make contact.
The Phobos-Grunt is also carrying China's first Mars satellite, Yinghuo-1.