2 Apr 2019 13:52

Spektr-RG telescope to be sent into orbit on June 21

MOSCOW. April 2 (Interfax) - The Spektr-RG orbital telescope will be launched into space on June 21, according to NPO Lavochkin deputy head Alexander Shirshakov.

"The launch has been scheduled to take place on June 21, 2019," Shirshakov said during a meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Space Council on Tuesday.

The telescope will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 4:44 p.m. Moscow time (1:44 UTC).

"If any problems, such as wind or geomagnetic conditions, occur on June 21, [the launch will be moved to] June 22. Should anything more serious happen, there are reserve dates of July 12 and July 13, respectively," Shirshakov said.

The telescope will be installed at a Lagrange point.

Roscosmos said earlier the Spektr-RG would be brought to Baikonur on April 25 and preparations for the launch would then begin.

The Spektr-RG orbital astrophysical observatory (also known as Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma) is a Russian-German project aimed at exploring the universe in X-ray.

Built by NPO Lavochkin, Spektr-RG comprises two telescopes: eRosita of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany and ART-XC, designed by the Russian Academy of Sciences' Space Research Institute and built by the Sarov State Institute of Physics and Technology.

The primary objective of Spektr-RG is to study the universe in the X-ray band of electromagnetic emissions, and to create a map of the visible universe, including all large clusters of galaxies.

The observatory will scan the skies for four years and will spend 2.5 years focusing on the most interesting objects of the universe at the request of international scientific community members.

According to Rashid Syunyayev, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, researchers are planning to find about 100,000 clusters of galaxies, three million black holes, and millions of new gravitational lenses with the help of Spektr-RG.