Scientist: a delay in the launch of «Spectrum-RG» not connected with the Ukrainian rocket

Scientist: a delay in the launch of «Spectrum-RG» not connected with the Ukrainian rocket© ESO/M. Kornmesser

Michael Pavlinsky, Deputy Director of IKI RAS, told RIA of «news» about why the delayed launch of the Russian x-ray Observatory «Spektr-RG» as it related to a Ukrainian missile «Zenit» and what problems had to be solved by the Russian and German teams, created two research «halves» of the probe.

Orbital astrophysical Observatory «Spektr-RG» is designed to study the Universe in gamma — and x-band. It will be launched into the Lagrangian point L2, where it is balanced by the attraction of the moon and the Earth, and will be the first Russian machine at this point. Now it is the European probe»Stargazer» GAIA, in which the active participation of Russian astronomers.

Part of the «Spectrum-RG» includes two main tools — the Russian x-ray telescope ART-XC, which is created in IKI in the Russian nuclear center in Sarov (VNIIEF) and the German scientists created a telescope eROSITA. The Foundation of the Observatory will be a platform «Navigator», developed by NPO Lavochkin.

The launch of «Spectrum-RG» was postponed several times — first for 2014, then at the beginning of 2016 and 2017 in December last year in September 2017, and now in March 2018. One of the project leaders, Michael pavlinski from the space research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, told RIA «news», what is the current delay.

«We do not have time to complete all the work to start in September 2017, so we had to delay the launch for six months. If we managed to do it, then it would run was made at the time, no problems with it would not exist. The fact that we have finished working with the telescope (ART-XC), and delivered it to NPO Lavochkin in December, and our German partners will make it only 18 January,» explains the physicist.

«Now the process goes, but it runs parallel with the further preparation of the probe to be sent into space, and I don’t think he is associated with the delay. You need to establish rules that really should have been done to probe the «Electro-L-3″, so I think that this process will not cause delays,» continues Pavlinsky.

On the other hand, as noted by a physicist, the platform «Navigator» never went into space aboard the «Proton», and the extra time will help adapt it for launches in a new «habitat» with the highest possible efficiency.

The reasons for the delays in the development of the telescope are purely engineering in nature – as told to Peter Predehl (Peter Predel), head of the German part of the «Spectrum-RG», delays in the Assembly of the eROSITA telescope was related to the difficulties encountered in polishing and the manufacture of mirrors, which was eventually resolved with a little-known Italian company, who were on the verge of bankruptcy.

«Protection against the fool»

In addition, the German partners ICA in 2013 having problems with reprogrammable processors, a key part of the telescope, which they had to radically revise all the electronic «stuffing» eROSITA, which was completed as explained by RIA «Novosti» Predel, in April of this year.

«In fact, the difficulties associated with the work of these processors, so-called FPGA-circuits, were not associated with them directly – there were a lot of complex, interrelated technical issues that demanded a lot of time unexpectedly. When creating such a device was said to Peter, it is difficult to understand how much time would be required to implement certain decisions that initially seemed simple,» adds Pavlinsky.

For example, as he says, the German designers have decided to make a short-focus telescope eROSITA, which, as they supposed, will not cause problems with the designs that have proved extremely challenging to implement.

«If they knew in advance what problems it brings, then they would have took that into consideration when designing the telescope. When they collected the mirror and realized that their measurement error exceeds the desired value three times, then they had to implement a bunch of other stuff in order to get closer to the desired solution,» continues the Russian scientist.

As noted Pavlinsky, in the development and launch telescope of problems, such as those that led to the death of a Japanese x-ray telescope «Hitomi», should not occur.

«All of the problems experienced «Hitomi,» was not associated with the payload system, and how it was managed, and how to conduct the testing of this control probe. In such cases, we need «protection against the fool». Hope to have such problems will not be», — concluded the Deputy Director of IKI.