Friday 19th of August 2022

a sunday picnic launched on saturday...


One of the most significant Russian space science missions in the post-Soviet era has launched from Baikonur.

The Spektr-RG telescope is a joint venture with Germany that will map X-rays across the entire sky in unprecedented detail.

Researchers say this information will help them trace the large-scale structure of the Universe.

The hope is Spektr-RG can provide fresh insights on the accelerating behaviour of cosmic expansion.

It should also identify a staggering number of new X-ray sources, such as the colossal black holes that reside at the centre of galaxies.

As gas falls into these monsters, the matter is heated and shredded and "screams" in X-rays. The radiation is essentially a telltale for the Universe's most violent phenomena.


I watched the launch on Sputnik website... I think I was more apprehensive than the only interviewer/journalist/presenter — an even spirited knowledgeable elegant woman who interviewed an enthusiastic engineer, smiling technicians, a space scientist explaining the Lagrangian mechanics to position Spektr-RG — and a jovial director of mission, as if all this was a Sunday picnic.

The countdown was more precise than a Swiss train. The seconds kept ticking back. One was surprise when the 0:00:00 count was announced and shown — and nothing happened for a couple of seconds. But this was a timing technicality... The ignition had been precisely done on the dot, but the rocket engines blasted with normal delay. NASA would countdown 0:00:00 to engine blast, while announcing ignition a few seconds earlier.

The MASSIVE Proton rocket took off with the usual lack of smoke — typical of Russian rocket technology. No trace gases, only a large hot flame. The reportage followed the take-off until one could not see the rocket and thus it was followed by interesting graphics of the rocket performance, with direct precise commentary from the control room about the various stages of separations. It was impressive. 

The Spektr-RG telescope is one of five missions as described by Science magazine...:

Russia’s beleaguered space science program is hoping for a rare triumph this month. Spektr-RG, an x-ray satellite to be launched on 21 June from Kazakhstan, aims to map all of the estimated 100,000 galaxy clusters that can be seen across the universe. Containing as many as 1000 galaxies and the mass of 1 million billion suns, the clusters are the largest structures bound by gravity in the universe. Surveying them should shed light on the evolution of the universe and the nature of the dark energy that is accelerating its expansion.

First proposed more than 30 years ago as part of a Soviet plan for a series of ambitious “great observatories” along the lines of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Spektr-RG fell victim to cost cutting in cash-strapped, post-Soviet Russia. But roughly €500 million satellite, which will carry German and Russian x-ray telescopes, was reborn early last decade with a new mission: not just to scan the sky for interesting x-ray sources, such as supermassive black holes gorging on infalling material, but to map enough galaxy clusters to find out what makes the universe tick. The new goal meant further delays. “There have been many ups and downs,” says Peter Predehl, leader of the team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany, that built one of the satellite’s two telescopes. “Whenever we thought we were out of the woods, a new one came along.”

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Spektr-RG (Russian for Spectrum + Röntgen + Gamma; also called Spectrum-X-GammaSRGSXG) is a Russian/German high-energy astrophysics space observatory which was launched on 13 July 2019.[4] It will follow on from the Spektr-R satellite telescope launched in 2011.



In celestial mechanics, the Lagrangian points (/ləˈɡrɑːndʒiən/ also Lagrange points,[1] L-points, or libration points) are the points near two large bodies in orbit where a smaller object will maintain its position relative to the large orbiting bodies. At other locations, a small object would go into its own orbit around one of the large bodies, but at the Lagrangian points the  gravitational forces of the two large bodies, the centripetal force of orbital motion, and (for certain points) the Coriolis acceleration all match up in a way that cause the small object to maintain a stable or nearly stable position relative to the large bodies.

There are five such points, labeled L1 to L5, all in the orbital plane of the two large bodies, for each given combination of two orbital bodies. For instance, there are five Lagrangian points L1 to L5 for the Sun-Earth system, and in a similar way there are five different Lagrangian points for the Earth-Moon system. L1, L2, and L3 are on the line through the centers of the two large bodies. L4 and L5 each form an equilateral triangle with the centers of the large bodies. L4 and L5 are stable, which implies that objects can orbit around them in a rotating coordinate system tied to the two large bodies.


what every kids should be taught in school...

minor planet is an astronomical object in direct orbit around the Sun (or more broadly, any star with a planetary system) that is neither a planet nor exclusively classified as a comet.[a] Before 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially used the term minor planet, but during that year's meeting it reclassified minor planets and comets into dwarf planets and small Solar System bodies (SSSBs).[1]

Minor planets can be dwarf planetsasteroidstrojanscentaursKuiper belt objects, and other trans-Neptunian objects.[2] As of 2019, the orbits of 794,832 minor planets were archived at the Minor Planet Center, 541,128 of which had received permanent numbers (for the complete list, see index).[3]

The first minor planet to be discovered was Ceres in 1801. The term minor planet has been used since the 19th century to describe these objects.[4] The term planetoid has also been used, especially for larger (planetary) objects such as those the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has called dwarf planets since 2006.[5][6] Historically, the terms asteroid, minor planet, and planetoid have been more or less synonymous.[5][7] This terminology has become more complicated by the discovery of numerous minor planets beyond the orbit of Jupiter, especially trans-Neptunian objects that are generally not considered asteroids.[7] A minor planet seen releasing gas may be dually classified as a comet.

Objects are called dwarf planets if their own gravity is sufficient to achieve hydrostatic equilibrium and form an ellipsoidal shape. All other minor planets and comets are called small Solar System bodies.[1] The IAU stated that the term minor planet may still be used, but the term small Solar System body will be preferred.[8]However, for purposes of numbering and naming, the traditional distinction between minor planet and comet is still used.


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artemis lunarus...

Vice President Mike Pence visited and gave remarks at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the 50th anniversary of humanity's first visit to the moon.

During a speech, Pence announced the completion of NASA's Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission.

"Thanks to the hard work of the men and women of NASA, and of American industry, the Orion crew vehicle for the Artemis 1 mission is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first flight," Pence said.

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soyuz rocket launched on the 50th anniversary of the day...


VOA News
Published on Jul 21, 2019



A Russian space capsule with three astronauts aboard blasted off from Russia's launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Saturday, July 20. The launch of the Soyuz rocket took place on the 50th anniversary of the day U.S. astronauts landed on the Moon. The capsule carried Andrew Morgan of the United States on his first spaceflight, Russian Alexander Skvortsov on his third mission to the space station and Italian Luca Parmitano. They joined Russian Alexey Ovchinin and Americans Nick Hague and Christina Koch who have been aboard since March. The crew patch for the expedition echoes the one from Apollo 11's 1969 lunar mission. (AP)
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going for second best...

The European Space Agency’s decision to replace Russian launch vehicles with those made in the US was forced upon Europeans by their big “ally,” a Russian cosmonaut has said, noting that the US was jealous of the cooperation.

Rene Pischel, head of ESA's permanent office in Moscow, announced this week that Italian astronaut Luka Parmitano might be the last European to have travelled to space in the famed Soyuz MS-13 Russian launch vehicle, at least for the foreseeable future. Parmitano has been at the International Space Station (ISS) since July.

In the coming years the ESA would be switching to US spacecraft for the mission, Pischel said, noting that the arrangement had been made necessary by the contractual obligations existing between the ESA and NASA.

Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov told the website that the ESA decision is a result of an ongoing pressure campaign by Washington.

As soon as Americans order something, everything is being done accordingly. Americans have always been extremely concerned about our very good relationship and work with the French and the Germans. They have been doing their best to destroy this cooperation

Vinogradov said that he does not believe that the ESA’s move would deal a blow to the Russian space industry, as many countries outside Europe are still keen on sending their men to space aboard a Soyuz so they can join an ever-expanding group of countries who already had done this.

For instance, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is planning to send its first astronaut aboard a Soyuz rocket in September.

“This is not the preference of American launches, it is the US pressuring its allies, that’s all,” the cosmonaut said.


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and the chinese too...

China sends a resource satellite and two small satellites into planned orbits from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in North China's Shanxi province on Thursday. [Photo/People's Daily]

China sent its first polar observation satellite into space on Thursday to strengthen the nation's polar research capability.

The BNU-1, also known as Ice Pathfinder, was launched atop a Long March 4B carrier rocket at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in North China's Shanxi province at 11:26 am with an optical remote-sensing satellite and a micro experimental satellite, according to China Great Wall Industry Corp, the satellites' launch service contractor.

The mission marked the 310th launch of China's Long March carrier rocket series.

Developed and constructed by Aerospace Dongfanghong Development in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, the BNU-1 weighs 16 kilograms and carries three experimental payloads – a multispectral camera, a high-resolution visible-light camera and an automatic identification system receiver, a device for ship identification.

The satellite is tasked with observing and monitoring climates and environments in the Antarctic and Arctic. It is expected to work in a sun-synchronous orbit more than 730 km above the Earth for up to two years, the China Academy of Space Technology, parent of Aerospace Dongfanghong Development, said in a statement.

After a certain period of in-orbit tests, it will be delivered to the Joint Center for Polar Research of Chinese Universities to start formal operations.

The BNU-1's service will enable China to put an end to its heavy reliance on Western companies' satellites in terms of images and data of polar regions, extensively bolstering the nation's polar and global environmental research, the academy said.


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about 2000 oneweb satellites to be launched by soyuz rockets...

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The first launch of UK communications satellites OneWeb from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome is tentatively scheduled for December 19, a spokesperson for Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos told Sputnik.

"Glavkosmos, Arianespace and Starsem have prepared joint proposals for launching OneWeb spacecraft from the Baikonur spaceport tentatively on December 19," the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, this date is to be approved after the detailed planning of technological operations, although everything is in the state of high readiness.

In April, OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel told The Australian newspaper that starting in December, OneWeb will be launching 30 satellites per month aboard Soyuz carrier rockets during a period of 20 months.

Steckel said that the initial constellation of 650 satellites would begin to provide commercial services in 2021. The constellation is expected to include about 2,000 satellites by 2026.

Roscosmos signed contracts with French company Arianespace and UK's OneWeb in June 2015 for carrying out a total of 21 commercial launches to bring 672 satellites to space atop the Soyuz rockets from Kourou, Baikonur and Vostochny space centres.

In April, Dmitry Loskutov, the head of Roscosmos' launch service provider Glavkosmos, told Sputnik that the first launch of OneWeb satellites from the Baikonur spaceport was planned to take place in the fourth quarter of 2019. Concerning launches from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, the first one is going to take place in the second quarter of 2020. A total of nine launches are expected to be conducted from Baikonur, eight from Vostochny and four from Kourou. The first launch from Kourou was held in February 2019.


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cheap subsidised seats to the ISS...


The US finally getting a crewed spaceship in no way means the end of Russia’s space program, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said, insisting that the Soyuz still remains the most cost-efficient way to get people to the ISS.

After SpaceX’s Crew Dragon delivered two astronauts to the International Space Station – the first US spaceship to do so for nine years – at the end of May, US media not only praised Elon Musk’s company, but also piled scorn on the Russian space program.

It was “strange” when some in the US, including NASA officials, “started making wreaths for the ‘funeral’ of Russian Soyuz,” Rogozin wrote in an opinion piece for Forbes magazine, published on Monday. While the Russian space chief’s social media rivalry with Musk and his past quotes played a role in the reaction, he made a stand for the iconic Russian spacecraft that has ferried US astronauts to orbit for all those years since the Space Shuttle program shut down.

Rogozin rejected the claim that the manned launches by SpaceX – which said it would charge anything from $55 million per seat for transporting the astronauts – would be so cheap that Russia would start reserving Crew Dragon seats for its cosmonauts.

The US officials who repeated that claim “just got bedeviled in a mass of figures,” he said. While Russia did charge the US $90 million a seat for Soyuz launches, Rogozin maintains that the Russian-crewed rocket launches still remain more cost-efficient than those of SpaceX's Falcon 9.

While SpaceX has made the partial reusability of the Falcon a key marketing point, both Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner – which is only expected to carry out its first mission next year – are launched to orbit by heavy rockets, while Soyuz requires a cheaper, medium-class booster, he said.

“Therefore, our space launches cost much less than the American ones,” making Soyuz “unparalleled” when it comes to delivering people to the ISS, Rogozin wrote.

He even compared the spaceship to the AK-47 rifle, saying that both Soviet designs were not only extremely reliable, but also continuously improved all the time. Soyuz is such a workhorse that it will continue to fly even after Russia’s next-generation 'Orel' (Eagle) spaceship is introduced.

It’s not our mood that Elon Musk spoiled on May 30, but that of his countrymen from Boeing, by starting flight tests ahead of them. It’s their war, not ours. Our space transport system has been operational for a long time and without interruptions.

He did point out that SpaceX could hardly argue to be the “first private company” to launch humans into space, given that NASA had subsidized both SpaceX and Boeing to the tune of $8 billion to develop rival spaceships. Musk’s company was the first to complete testing and perform its launch.



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