Fourth Generation Mars
Mars-96 orbital mars spacecraft was launched on November 16, 1996 on the Proton-K booster and completed earth orbital insertion. This was only to have the Proton last stage Blok-D to fail to fire again to leave earth orbit. Which ultimately caused the spacecraft to be lost during its inevitable expected reentry over the Pacific Ocean off the South American coast and other spacecraft debris impact on the near by South America continental region. This ambitious program was instituted in the austere post 1991 Russian revolution collapse of the former Soviet Union thus only one probe was launched by Russia Federation as an international cooperative program. This spacecraft was the heaviest Mars probe ever developed and launched by Russia to Mars and its loss had a long term impact on the programs efforts. The subsequent mars exploration efforts have for some time been delayed by the lack of Russian Federal government funding due to the under performing economy of Russia in that period. This economic short fall has been changing for now but how long it will last remains to be seen.
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