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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 elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @02:05PM (#36814098)

    Spy satellite turned *away* from earth.

  • Correct link (Score:3, Informative)

    by saurongt ( 1639029 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @02:11PM (#36814170)
  • I read that as:

    Russian (adj) launches (noun) delayed (verb) radiotelescope (noun)

    instead of

    Russia (noun) launches (verb) delayed (adj) radiotelescope (noun)

    My brain inserting one little letter can change so much!
  • Well done Russia. Finally some competition in space research area. Maybe this will also get NASA some badly needed funds. Then again, war in Afghanistan/Iraq/Libya/... is more pressing. And making rich richer by reducing the tax they are paying. They need their gold plated Lamborghinis after all, silver plating just won't do.
    • Russia never stopped being a leader in astronautics. But nicely done slipping your agenda in on a compliment.
      • Re:Well done (Score:4, Informative)

        by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @02:30PM (#36814360)

        Shit, they CREATED astronautics.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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.

    • You think they drive gold plated supercars now like common savages? They drive diamond-encrusted cars. [] That launch out of their mega-yachts. []

    • Why should Paris Hilton's pet chihuahua suffer wearing cheaper jewelery just because some undeserving peasant wants to go to school, or doesn't want his child to starve, or doesn't want to drown in a flood? If peasants really want those things, they can get them for themselves! Stop punishing the chihuahua just because you're a lazy bum who thinks the government has the right to force innocent corporations to not poison toddlers! Commies! you're all a buncha commies! [/conservolibertarianstrawman]
    • Re:Well done (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @03:46PM (#36815232) Homepage

      Well done Russia. Finally some competition in space research area.

      Here in this reality, there's never been a lack of competition - the ESA, among many others, has been launching research birds for decades. Hell, even Canada has launched a small space telescope [].

      Maybe this will also get NASA some badly needed funds.

      NASA has plenty of funds. What NASA doesn't have is consistently competent management, accounting, or engineering. Yes, engineering. If they don't do their jobs rights, including cost and risk estimation and development planning, then the others can't do theirs either. (Yes, bean counting is part of engineering.) Exacerbating the impact of NASA's inability to consistently and reasonably project cost and schedule is Congress and the general public insisting that each and every NASA project be groundbreaking and cutting edge, be on budget and on schedule, and have a 100% success rate. (In the real world, you get to pick two as the saying goes.)
      When you expect an agency to accomplish three impossible things before breakfast (and NASA is nearly unique among US government agencies in this respect) - you're setting the stage for problems. It shouldn't surprise anyone therefore when problems regularly occur.

  • 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.

  • "Using a highly elliptical orbit of around 340,000 km"

    this in no way describes the eccentricity of the orbit. It simply tells us that the apogee is 340,000 km...

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      "Using a highly elliptical orbit of around 340,000 km"

      this in no way describes the eccentricity of the orbit. It simply tells us that the apogee is 340,000 km...

      Even worse it could be the perigee and then it flings itself out to Mars. That would not be a complete waste of rocket fuel; keep it far away from near earth interference like geosynchronous sats.

      • If that were the case, maybe a couple of guys could hitch a ride, and Russia would win the space race to Mars...
  • The Russians??!?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frangible ( 881728 ) on Tuesday July 19, 2011 @03:12PM (#36814858)
    I'm shocked. If only we could form some sort of giant national space agency to compete with Russia in space. Nah, it'd be expensive, and we'd probably need a bunch of German scientists or something.
    • I don't understand your comment. Just because the shuttle program ended doesn't mean NASA has stopped exploring space. This Russian mission is un-manned, with scientific objectives - just the type of thing NASA is doing more of []:

      On July 16, the Dawn spacecraft begins a year-long visit to the large asteroid Vesta to help us understand the earliest chapter of our solar system's history. In August, the Juno spacecraft will launch to investigate Jupiter's origins, structure, and atmosphere. The September launc

      • It was a sarcastic comment along the lines of "If only there were giant machines that could see inside the human body" from House MD.

        Not completely true, but just to illustrate a point. Yes, I know NASA is still around... but things have changed for science funding in America without the cold war driving government funding, and not for the better, although I am glad the cold war is over and have no issues with Russia.
  • There's nothing more authentic than reading about the Russian space program, and missing a grammatical article:

    "It became first launch..."

    This totally made my day, and I couldn't continue reading it without a Russian accent.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain