After days of launch delays, a Russian Proton-M rocket successfully delivered a cutting-edge space telescope into orbit Saturday, July 13, from Baikonur.
The telescope, named Spektr-RG, a close collaboration between Russian and German scientists, was delivered into a parking orbit before a final burn Saturday that kicked the spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit and on to its final destination: the L2 Lagrange point, some 1.5 million km from Earth ,where will arrive in three months.. Such points are unique positions in the solar system where objects can maintain their position relative to the sun and the planets that orbit it. The telescope aims to conduct a complete x-ray survey of the sky by 2025 and will be the first space telescope to do so. Work on Spektr-RG telescope began in the 1980. Later was redesigned to be smaller, simpler and cheaper.
The primary instrument of the mission is eROSITA, built by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Germany. It is designed to be used to conduct a 7-year X-ray survey. On the spacecraft is also installed the Russian-built science hardware known as ART-XC. The next four years will be spent performing eight all-sky surveys. Researchers say this information will help them trace the large-scale structure of the Universe. 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. Spektr-RG is expecting to detect perhaps three million super-massive black holes during its service life.