Russia Successfully Launched Spektr-RG Mission For Observing Dark Matter

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On 13th of July, yesterday, a successful launch took place on a Proton rocket thanks to which we now have a European and Russian all-sky-survey satellite in space to observe dark matter. The Spektr-RG mission, which is short for Spektrum-Röntgen-Gamma, is a collaboration project between Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and DLR, the German one. The launch of the Spektr-RG took place at 8:31 a.m. EDT (1231 GMT, or 5:31 p.m. local time) in Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

According to Spaceflight Now, the launch was supposed to take place a few weeks ago on 21st of June, but the Spektr-RG mission has been delayed due to battery drainage of the Block DM upper stage of the Proton rocket.

The second launch attempt that was supposed to take place on 12th of July, this Friday, was then postponed by Roscosmos due to some issues that could happen with the booster.

Russia Successfully Launched Spektr-RG Mission Space Probe To Explore Dark Matter

After its launch, the Spektr-RG will next travel to a Lagrange point (specifically, L2) which is a stable orbit in space. In this place, the gravitational forces of the Earth and the sun, two astronomical objects, balance each other out. Spektr-RG will this way have the possibility to use the minimal amount of fuel to perform its observations on the dark matter.

According to Roscosmos, 3 million supermassive black holes, 100,000 galaxy clusters, the presence of plasma (superheated gas), tens of thousands of star-forming galaxies, and many more types of objects are said to be detected by the spacecraft.

Two X-ray mirror telescopes are included in the observatory, ART-XC, and eROSITA, to be more precise. A Russian payload, the first one, will be the examinator of the higher energies of X-rays, up to 30 keV while the Extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array, the latter one, works best with energies ranges of 0.5 to 10 keV.


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