Russia investigates theory US radars caused probe crash

“There is such a theory,” he told the RIA-Novosti news agency.

“To test (the theory), an equipment block similar to the one on Phobos-Grunt will be exposed to radiation from possible unintentional exposure to American radars,” he added.

“The results of the experiment will allow us to prove or dismiss the possibility of the radars’ impact.” It is not the first time Russia has suggested that the probe’s failure may have been caused by factors beyond its control. Earlier this month, Vladimir Popovkin, the current head of Roskosmos, hinted that shadowy external forces may have been responsible.

Russia’s space programme is struggling to restore its reputation after a succession of embarrassing launch failures. Last February, Moscow lost a strategically important military satellite, last August a giant communications satellite had to be written off after a disastrous launch, and in December a Russian satellite crashed into Siberia minutes after its launch due to rocket failure.

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