News, Culture & Society

Russia loses control of its only space telescope

Russia loses control of its only space telescope: ‘Gremlins’ caused by cosmic radiation are to blame as the craft fails to respond to commands

  • Satellite telescope fell silent last Friday but is still transmitting data from space 
  • Spektr-R has spent seven years in space after its 2011 launch from Kazakhstan 
  • Specialists made many failed attempts to fix the lost connection with the craft
  • ‘Cosmic radiation in the spacecraft’s electronics could have caused the problem

Russia’s Spektr-R satellite telescope has stopped responding to commands from Earth after spending seven years in space, according to officials.

The country’s only orbiting telescope fell silent as the satellite’s communication systems stopped working but the craft is continuing to transmit data.

Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, says its specialists have made many failed attempts to fix the lost connection, which has been out since last Friday.

The failure could be caused by ‘cosmic radiation accumulated in the spacecraft’s electronics’, according to Russian news agency TASS.

 

Russia’s Spektr-R satellite telescope has stopped responding to commands from Earth after spending seven years in space, according to officials. The country’s only space telescope fell silent as the satellite’s communication systems have stopped working

 ‘Specialists of the Main Operational Group of Spacecraft Control are carrying out work to remove the existing problems,’ Roscosmos wrote in a statement.

‘Beginning with January 10, 2019, problems emerged in the operation of the service systems that currently make it impossible to tackle a targeted task.’

The satellite is used to study radio sources within and outside our galaxy and orbits Earth at a distance of around 265,000 and 360,000 kilometers.

It was launched in 2011 and has exceeded its initially expected useful life of about five years.  

Spektr-R, which orbits high above NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, worked alongside ground-based radio telescopes across the world to make high resolution radio astronomical observations.  

 Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, says its specialists have made many failed attempts to fix the lost connection, which has been out since last Friday. The failure could be caused by 'cosmic radiation accumulated in the spacecraft's electronics', according to Russian news agency TASS

 Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, says its specialists have made many failed attempts to fix the lost connection, which has been out since last Friday. The failure could be caused by ‘cosmic radiation accumulated in the spacecraft’s electronics’, according to Russian news agency TASS

Spektr was used to study a black hole 900 million light years away using its 10-metre antenna. They released the highest resolution image we have of a black hole which shows a jet of material pouring out of it, something that occurs as matter is consumed

Spektr was used to study a black hole 900 million light years away using its 10-metre antenna. They released the highest resolution image we have of a black hole which shows a jet of material pouring out of it, something that occurs as matter is consumed

It studies inner regions of active galaxy nuclei and magnetic fields, monitoring of the brightest quasars as well as conducting research of water-vapor clouds in space, pulsars and interstellar matter.

It has been responsible from some of the amazing views of the universe in the last seven years. 

An official from Russian space agency Roscosmos, Alexander Bloshenko, said on Saturday that another attempt to establish control of the satellite took place on Sunday.

The attempt was unsuccessful however there was some hope for Roscosmos after US scientists managed to pick up the carrier signal of the telescope early yesterday morning. 

It was used to study a black hole 900 million light years away using its 10-metre antenna.

Spektr-R, which orbits high above NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, worked alongside ground-based radio telescopes across the world to make high resolution radio astronomical observations. Here, during assembly

Spektr-R, which orbits high above NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, worked alongside ground-based radio telescopes across the world to make high resolution radio astronomical observations. Here, during assembly

They released the highest resolution image we have of a black hole which shows a jet of material pouring out of it, something that occurs as matter is consumed. 

If Russian scientists can’t make contact with the craft, it will continue to orbit for some time before eventually burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. 

A new Russian-German satellite, Spektr-RG, is scheduled to be launched this year. 

WHAT IS THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE?

The Hubble telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, via the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

It is named after famed astronomer Edwin Hubble who was born in Missouri in 1889.

He is arguably most famous for discovering that the universe is expanding and the rate at which is does so – now coined the Hubble constant. 

Hubble has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990 and helped publish more than 15,000 scientific papers.

The Hubble telescope is named after Edwin Hubble who was responsible for coming up with the Hubble constant and is one of the greatest astronomers of all-time

The Hubble telescope is named after Edwin Hubble who was responsible for coming up with the Hubble constant and is one of the greatest astronomers of all-time

It orbits Earth at a speed of about 17,000 mph in low Earth orbit at about 340 miles in altitude.

Hubble has the pointing accuracy of .007 arc seconds, which is like being able to shine a laser beam focused on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s head on a dime roughly 200 miles away.

Hubble’s primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across and in total is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long – the length of a large school bus.

 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.