The Russian space telescope "Spectr-R" has ceased to obey commands from the Earth, the launch of the "Spectra-RG" is postponed
On January 10, it became known that the Spektr-R space radio telescope had stopped receiving commands from Earth. Most likely, the reason for the failure of the last of the three sets of receiving-transmitting devices, as reported by RIA Novosti. Previously, the main and backup set of the receiving-transmitting device failed at the device, so in recent years the device has worked on the second backup set.
Experts NPO Lavochkin confirmed the failure of the last of the three sets of receiving and transmitting devices. “According to the results of today's communication session, it became absolutely clear to the specialists of the main operational control group of the Spektr-R space radio telescope that the last of the three receiving and transmitting devices failed on the device. The likelihood of restoring its efficiency is low, and given the lack of a reserve, the transfer of commands to Spektr-R is no longer possible, ”said a source in the rocket and space industry.
According to another expert, it is still possible to restore the receiving-transmitting device. According to him, it is worth trying to start work not only with the third, but also with the first two sets. “Here we need to find out what the problem is and eliminate it. Probably, the first two previously defective transceiver set should be tried again. It happened that after a long break the failed equipment worked again, ” said the agency interlocutor.
Unfortunately, on January 13, during the communication session, the Roskomos team was unable to regain control of the Russian space telescope. The connection has not been established, although, according to experts, there is a “certain built-in algorithm”, so the work will continue on January 14th .
Director of the Astro-Cosmic Center of the Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences (FIAN) Nikolay Kardashev asserts that there is still hope for the restoration of communication. He says that the radio visibility with the Spectrum-R is now limited, so that work can be carried out only from a ground station in the Ussuriyskie, but in the near future, scientists will be able to send signals from the Moscow region.
In the event that the connection can be restored, the space telescope will begin to observe the galaxy M106 in the constellation Hounds. “This is an accretion disk galaxy with the brightest megamazer. There are clouds of water vapor that emit maser lines. And we will study them with the help of Radioastron, - the head of the scientific program of the Radioastron project (the Spectr-R spacecraft), Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Kovalev.
The problems now are not only with the Russian space telescope, which is already in orbit, but also with the apparatus, which has not yet got there. The launch of the new Russian telescope “Spectr-RG” is postponed for May-June due to the prolonged inspections of equipment. Earlier, the launch was planned for April 1-2 with the “window” on April 12-13.
"Due to the need for additional checks of the spacecraft, the launch was postponed to the first half of May, but due to the May holidays, it may move to June," said RIA Novosti’s interlocutor. He added that during the verification stage, comments were revealed that are now being eliminated.
The telescope will be delivered to the Baikonur cosmodrome in March 2019. The launch is planned to be carried out using the Proton-M launch vehicle with the upper stage DM-03.
For the transfer of the launch of the device to a later date, scientists also speak, and most experts suggest launching in June, not May. In the case of sending the device into space in May, after 400 days of flight, it will fall into an area that will not be seen by the station in Bear Lakes, so Ussuriysk will become the main receiving station. But this station is not fully prepared to control the satellite. If you run the telescope in June, the problem is removed.
By the way, the Space Observatory "Spectrum-RG" is not a substitute for "Spectra-R". The two vehicles have qualitatively different ways of observing the Universe. In addition, despite the manufacturer (this is NPO them. Lavochkin), various scientific organizations work with them. So, with the "Spectrum-R" works Physical Institute. Lebedev Institute of Sciences, a scientific program on the "Spectrum-RG" is implemented by the Institute of Space Research, RAS. Supervisors of these two projects are also different.