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Mission type Single launch: orbiter, lander, ascent vehicle, sample return
Operator Russian Federal Space Agency
Spacecraft properties
Bus Pereletny Modul or Flagman [1]
Manufacturer NPO Lavochkin
Russian Space Research Institute
Dry mass Orbiter: 50 kg (110 lb)
Lander: 20 kg (44 lb)[2]
Power solar array
Start of mission
Launch date proposed: mid 2020s[3]
Rocket Angara-5/Breeze-M
Mars orbiter
Orbit parameters
Peri 500 km (310 mi)
Apo 500 km (310 mi)
Mars lander

Mars-Grunt, otherwise known as Expedition-M[4] is a robotic spacecraft sample return mission proposed to be sent to Mars in mid-2020s.[5][6][7][8][9] It was proposed to the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) by the Russian Space Research Institute.


If funded by the Russian space agency Roscosmos, it would be developed by the Russian Space Research Institute and NPO Lavochkin, based on Fobos-Grunt technology.[10] Designs show a dome-shaped lander would separate from the orbiter and would enter the Martian atmosphere protected within an inflatable rubber braking cone and fire rockets for the final stage.[11] Once a robotic arm selects and retrieves the samples (mass about 0.2 kilograms (0.44 lb)),[12] a small rocket in the top of the lander would blast the ascent vehicle for rendezvous and docking with the orbiter for the soil sample transfer into the return vehicle.

Cruise stage[edit]

The cruise stage PM (from Pereletny Modul) is sometimes referred to as Flagman. It was developed for the Fobos-Grunt mission, but its basic architecture is promised to be the base for a whole generation of future planetary missions, including Luna-Glob, Luna-Resurs and Luna-Grunt to the Moon; Venera-D to Venus; Mars-NET and Mars-Grunt to Mars and, possibly, Sokol-Laplas to Jupiter. The platform's developer - NPO Lavochkin - stressed that in different configuration, the same bus could be adapted as an orbiter or as a lander.[1]

Phobos mission[edit]

In April 2015, Expedition-M mission was re-purposed for returning samples from Phobos, one of the moons of Mars.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Phobos-Grunt design
  2. ^ Roscosmos - Space missions Published by The Space Review (page 9) on 2010
  3. ^ Russia takes a two-pronged approach to space exploration April 17, 2012.
  4. ^ "Russian space program: a decade review (2010-2019)". Russianspaceweb. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Roscosmos - Space missions Published by The Space Review (p. 8-10, 19) on 2010
  6. ^ "Russia takes a two-pronged approach to space exploration". Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "The Space Review: Red Planet blues". Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  8. ^ Russia To Study Martian Moons Once Again. Mars Daily July 15, 2008.
  9. ^ Major provisions of the Russian Federal Space Program for 2006-2015. "1 spacecraft for Mars research and delivery of Martian soil to the Earth."
  10. ^ Phobos-Grunt prepares for launch. ATO - 16 August 2011.
  11. ^ Russian Space Probes: Scientific Discoveries and Future Missions. By Brian Harvey, Olga Zakutnyaya. (p 475)
  12. ^ Roscosmos - Space missions Published by The Space Review (page 9) on 2010
  13. ^ "ExoMars to pave the way for soil sample return". Russianspaceweb. Retrieved 7 August 2015.