4 Jun 2019 12:04

Spektr-R orbital telescope's scientific program accomplished at 98% - Roscosmos

MOSCOW. June 4 (Interfax) - The scientific program of the Spektr-R Russian orbital telescope, contact with which was lost in January, was accomplished at 98-99%, the Roscosmos state corporation said in a statement posted on its website.

"The teamwork of all project participants resulted in high effectiveness of the scientific program, only 1-2% of which were not fulfilled," the corporation said.

According to Roscosmos, the telescope gathered 4 petabytes of information.

Contact with the telescope was lost in January. Specialists of NPO Lavochkin kept trying to reestablish connection until a decision to formally shut down the project was made on May 30.

About a hundred articles were published in domestic and foreign peer-reviewed science magazines on the basis of information provided by the telescope, Roscosmos said.

"Scientists in Russia and other countries will keep processing and analyzing the data for at least a few more years," it said.

The initial scientific program was accomplished in 2013, and applicants chosen in an open tender received access to Spektr-R services.

The telescope showed that quasar nuclei were at least ten times brighter than it was assumed from ground research. Much headway was made in the studies of plasma, and a new dispersion effect was discovered.

"As a result, radio-astronomy specialists have considerably improved the interstellar medium theory and understanding of the structure of irregularities... The discovered effect makes it possible not only to reconstruct characteristics of the interstellar medium but also to adjust 'images distorted by dispersion' and reach out to the center of our galaxy," the corporation said.

Contact with the telescope was lost on January 10. Roscosmos told Interfax earlier that the telescope's warranted life expired a long time ago.

Spektr-R was designed by NPO Lavochkin as a space component of the international project Radioastron aimed at fundamental astrophysical studies in the radio range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The studies were conducted by over 40 ground-based radio-telescopes and the Spektr-R orbital observatory.

"Spektr-R was launched in 2011. Its warranted life expired in 2014, yet the telescope continued to fulfill its mission," the press service said.

Radioastron scientific supervisor Yury Kovalyov told Interfax that the telescope had accomplished each of its key scientific missions.