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The launch of the unique Spektr-RG observatory and restoration of one of the world’s largest radio telescopes in Crimea shows Russia is serious about regaining its position as a top space power. The Proton-M booster blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome at the weekend, carrying state-of-the-art telescopes, which are expected to detect more than 100,000 massive galaxy clusters and more than three million supermassive black holes.
Scientists believe that the data gathered by the space observatory will allow them to greatly expand their knowledge of dark matter and dark energy, to subsequently test models of the expansion of the universe. Within the next three months, Spektr-RG will cover some 1.5 million kilometers to reach its destination in the Lagrangian point 2. The location provides favorable conditions for the operations of the station as it’ll be free from temperature variations there due to the Earth, Moon and the Sun always being aligned favorably.
Information, sent by Spektr-RG is to be received by two antennas in Russia, which will soon be joined by the RT-70 radio telescope in Crimea’s Yevpatoria. The reconstruction of the massive antenna, with a diameter of 70 meters, started after the peninsula’s reunification with Russia in 2014. It’s scheduled to resume operations in August 2020. It will also play a major part in other Russian space endeavours, including the Moon program.
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