Spectrum R reached Orbit

Credit: Astro Space Center

Russian astrophysical observatory Spectrum-R has reached the targeted orbit.
The scientific spacecraft successfully separated from the Fregat-SB upper stage at 10.06 a.m. MSK. Spectrum-R was injected into orbit with altitude of about 340 thousand km.

The launch of Zenith-3M rocket with Fregat-SB upper stage and Spectrum-R occurred from Baikonur’s pad 45 on July 18, at 6.31 a.m. MSK.

Spectrum-R, developed under Radioastron project in the framework of Russian Federal Space Program, is intended to study the Universe. The aim of the mission is to use the space telescope to conduct interferometer observations in conjunction with the global ground radio telescope network in order to obtain images, coordinates, motions and evolution of angular structure of different radio emitting objects in the Universe. Scientists also expect to obtain more information about pulsars and interstellar plasma, black holes and neutron stars in the Milky Way. The spacecraft's operational lifetime will be no less than five years.

Spectrum-R was built by Roscosmos’ company Lavochkin R&D. Scientific payloads were developed by the Astro Space Center of Russian Academy of Sciences’ Lebedev Physical Institute, as well as by international partners.

“Many people wonder – there’s us, our planet, the sun, our galaxy – but we can’t be alone out there,” said Bobyshkin. “The talk of parallel worlds and time travel may sound like science fiction… but they say we only know four per cent about the world surrounding us, and we hope to be able to look beyond that.”
Spektr-R, also known as RadioAstron, will be the biggest telescope ever launched into space. Together with its largest earth-bound siblings, it will create a network able to provide detailed images of the universe.

The resolution will be a thousand times sharper than America’s Hubble telescope.
"RadioAstron will certainly expand the limits of human knowledge – we might be standing on the threshold of a revolution in astrophysics when things like dark matter and black holes, start to become observable,” added Bobyshkin.
At the heart of the complex is a gigantic ten-meter parabolic mirror that can only be seen when the telescope is fully open. 
In space, the flower-like telescope will open its 27 petals within 30 minutes and will start its exploration of the unknown. Those who have been working on the project – some for more than 20 years – cannot wait to start getting the first results.

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