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Space Science

Russia Launches Delayed Radiotelescope 35

An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday the Radioastron Spektr-R satellite was successfully launched from Baikonur cosmodrome. It became first launch of an astronomical satellite in 25 years for Russia. Its mission is to search the Universe for black holes, quasars, pulsars, and other mysterious objects. Using a highly elliptical orbit of around 340,000 km it will conduct interferometer observations (in conjunction with the global ground radio telescope network) with the extraordinarily high angular resolution. The project's life expectancy is 5 years but its creators are hoping for it to work at least twice as long."
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Russia Launches Delayed Radiotelescope

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  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @02:38PM (#36814428)

    VLBI fans, rejoice ! Really, after the Japanese VSOP [] mission, it has been a long wait for this one (first proposed in the 1980's). Together with antennas on the ground, RadioAstron should provide the highest resolution of any human telescope, anywhere, at any wavelength. (Here [] are some more technical details.)

    The USA pioneered the use of this technology (the first space VLBI [], in the 1980's, used a NASA TDRSS communication satellite that was underused after the Challenger disaster), and Irwin Shapiro suggested putting VLBI terminals on the Moon well before that, but here is another case where the USA can't seem to actually get its stuff into the orbit.

  • Re:Well done (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @02:43PM (#36814496)

    You're confusing 'astronautics' and 'space research' - the latter is usually taken to mean space science.
    Russia's space program overall has remained strong, but its space physics and space astronomy program has been moribund for two decades
    (and the rest of their space science only a little better)
    It's wonderful to see them back in the game.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982