I walked down the street a hundred yards, and stood in my neighbor's driveway where the forest gave way to a large swath of the Southwestern sky. At the appointed minute, the Mag.1.3 satellite came racing overhead. The spacecraft continued to the SSE, disappearing into the twilight. No twinkling, flashing, dimming or intensifying was observed. The probe seemed to be flying straight and true.
This morning, @ralfvandebergh tweeted a link to his astrophotographs on Space Safety Magazine that show Phobos/Grunt traveling in a low drag attitude. This is the favored attitude to avoid orbital decay, but in this configuration the solar panels don't track the Sun. The resulting lack of power generation must have bedeviled efforts to contact the spacecraft.
|Astrophoto: Ralf Vandebergh|
@PhG_Reentry tweets the latest reentry estimate: "Still tracking for 17 January ± 2 days solar flux still reducing"
CorduroyPlanet's Phobos/GruntWatch will go LIVE when the time comes...Stay tuned!