On November 8, 2011 at 20:16 UTC (November 9 at 00:16 Moscow time) the two-stage "Zenit-2SB” rocket-carrier was launched from Baykonur Cosmodrome. The launch was performed by Russian and Ukrainian specialists. The rocket orbited the "Phobos-Grunt” probe.
The ambitious "Phobos-Grunt” mission is aimed at bringing back soil samples from Phobos in 2014 to pave the way for the exploration of the Red Planet. The $163-million spacecraft is carrying an array of 20 instruments designed to gather and transmit data from the vicinity of Mars and from the surface of Phobos.
The "Phobos-Grunt” is also carrying several other payloads, including a Chinese sub-probe Yinghuo 1 that will separate from Phobos-Grunt and go into orbit around the Red Planet, as well as a capsule with microbes to study how life forms survive long flights through deep space.