The first Soviet probe sent…

The first Soviet probe sent to Mars’ moon Phobos failed due to user error. While the probe was still on its way to Mars, an impatient technician who didn’t want to wait for his code to be proofread unintentionally sent a command to the probe to shut down and there was no way to turn it back on.

After the incident, an investigation was immediately ordered to determine who was responsible for the failure. Nevertheless, disciplinary action was postponed until the completion of the Phobos 2 mission. This was to prevent the demoralization of the Phobos 2 team. Any penalization of the Phobos 1 team would create anxiety among the Phobos 2 team and reduce the chances of mission success.
This postponement of punitive measures was urged by IKI director Roald Sagdeev. He quoted the former secret service chief under Stalin, Lavrenti Beria, who said “Let’s make them work for now. We can shoot them all later.”

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