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Russian Proton-M Rocket Successfully Delivers Cutting-Edge Space Telescope into Orbit

The telescope, named Spektr-RG, was delivered into a parking orbit before a final burn Saturday that kicked the spacecraft

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Russian. Rocket, Space Telescope
FILE - The Soyuz rocket booster with Soyuz MS-2 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station blasts off in Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. VOA

Russia’s space agency says a Russian Proton-M rocket has successfully delivered a cutting-edge space telescope into orbit after days of launch delays.

Roscosmos said the telescope, named Spektr-RG, 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.

Lagrange points are unique positions in the solar system where objects can maintain their position relative to the sun and the planets that orbit it.

Russian. Rocket,  Space Telescope
Russia’s space agency says a Russian Proton-M rocket has successfully delivered a cutting-edge space telescope into orbit after days of launch delays. Pixabay

Located 1.5 million kilometers (0.93 million miles) from Earth, L2 is particularly ideal for telescopes such as Spektr-RG. If all goes well, it will arrive at its designated position in three months.

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If Spektr-RG reaches L2 successfully, it will be the first Russian spacecraft to operate beyond Earth’s orbit since the Soviet era. (VOA)

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Another Space Telescope Shuts Down: NASA

Launched by space shuttles in the 1990s, Hubble and Chandra are part of NASA's Great Observatories series.

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NASA, tissue
US shutdown delays space missions but NASA not grounded: Report,

Another NASA space telescope has shut down and halted science observations.

Less than a week after the Hubble Space Telescope went offline, the Chandra X-ray Observatory did the same thing. NASA said Friday that Chandra automatically went into so-called safe mode Wednesday, possibly because of a gyroscope problem.

Hubble went into hibernation last Friday because of a gyroscope failure.

NASA
This illustration made available by NASA shows the Chandra X-ray Observatory. On Oct. 12, 2018, the space agency said that the telescope automatically went into so-called safe mode on Oct. 10, possibly because of a gyroscope problem. VOA

Both orbiting observatories are old and in well-extended missions: Hubble is 28, while Chandra is 19. Flight controllers are working to resume operations with both.

NASA said it’s coincidental both went “asleep” within a week of one another. An astronomer who works on Chandra, Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted Friday that “Chandra decided that if Hubble could have a little vacation, it wanted one, too.”

Also Read: Astronomers Capture 15,000 Galaxies Using Hubble Telescope

Launched by space shuttles in the 1990s, Hubble and Chandra are part of NASA’s Great Observatories series. The others are the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, which was also launched in the 1990s but eventually failed and was destroyed, and the Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003 and still working. Each was intended to observe the cosmos in different wavelengths. (VOA)