Russia launches space telescope (Update)

The new telescope replaces the Spektr-R radio astronomy observatory, which was also launched from Baikonur in 2011
The new telescope replaces the Spektr-R radio astronomy observatory, which was also launched from Baikonur in 2011

Russia launched a space telescope Saturday from the cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in a joint mission with Germany intended to map X-rays across the sky and replace a project lost in January.

Video posted on the website of the Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, showed a Proton-M rocket carrying the Spektr-RG taking off from the launch pad at Baikonur at 1230 GMT.

The launch of the scope, weighing more than 2.7 tonnes, was originally scheduled for June 21 but was postponed twice because of a battery problem.

The Spektr-RG, developed with Germany, is a space observatory intended to replace the Spektr-R, known as the "Russian Hubble", which Roskosmos said it lost control of in January.

Spektr-R was launched in 2011 to observe black holes, neutron stars and magnetic fields, aiding understanding of cosmic expansion. Its successor will take up similar duties but will also work on completing a high-resolution all-sky map, said Roskosmos.

Russia facing competition for ISS links

Russia's space programme, long a source of great pride to the nation, has suffered a series of humiliating setbacks in recent years, although the country remains committed to ambitious projects

"The observation of space by Spektr-RG will mark a new stage in X-ray astronomy, whose history goes back more than 55 years," said the Russian space agency, adding the project would permit "the year-round observation of practically the whole celestial sphere," the imaginary sphere formed by our universe.

Since 2011, Russia has been the only country capable of sending teams to the International Space Station (ISS).

But a series of recent setbacks together with corruption scandals within Roskosmos and the competition from Elon Musk's SpaceX have threatened its monopoly.

The next launch to the ISS is scheduled for July 20 . It will carry an Italian and a US astronaut together with a Russian cosmonaut.

The telescope's research mission is set to last for six-and-a-half years including a four-year scan of the heavens and the remainder spent observing objects in space "at the behest of the international scientific community," the agency statement said.

It will take some three months to reach its destination, an observing position some 1.5 million kilometres (900,000 miles) above Earth.

It is expected the telescope will uncover around three million super-massive black holes during its lifetime as well as some 100,000 massive galaxy clusters strung out across the known universe, the agency added.


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Jul 14, 2019
When you're down to your last rouble

If Russia has lost the contract to fly to the space station
Has just lost a rocket
And their latest endeavour
The launch of the scope
Weighing more than 2.7 tonnes
Originally scheduled for June 21
Postponed twice because of battery problems
When you're down to your last rouble
Is why Russia is having battery problems
Why Russia is having battery problems when Germany is part of this project
Battery problems do not bode well for this telescope
As to this Russian space station
Who so ever flies astronauts to this space station
Owns it!

Jul 14, 2019
America beholding to Russia for trips to the ISS:
They used to tell me I was building a dream
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
I was always there right on the job
They used to tell me I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?
Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Aug 12, 2019
Will be used as part of National Russia Military agenda.

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