Russian Phobos-Grunt Satellite Reentry

This animation was created to visualize the reentry of the Russian satellite Phobos-Grunt, which was originally designed to return soil samples from Phobos, one of the moons of Mars.  After a couple failed burns, the satellite ended up stranded in a decaying Earth orbit, eventually leading to an uncontrolled reentry on January 15th, 2012. The video first depicts the planned mission then compares the stranded satellite’s orbit with populated regions of the earth to explain a possible reentry zone.

This animation was created using Satellite Tool Kit. (I was responsible for all shots except the final reentry clip).

I will be presenting this video at SIGGRAPH 2012 as part of a video compilation depicting several recent satellite reentries.  Look for the presentation at the SIGRGRAPH Dailies! portion of the conference.

Date: June 19, 2012