MOSCOW, July 13. /TASS/. The Spektr-RG space observatory has separated from Blok DM-03 stage, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said on its Twitter page on Saturday.
THE SPEKTR-RG SPACECRAFT SEPARATED ️— РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) July 13, 2019
The #SpektrRG observatory successfully separated from the upper stage!
Next stage: 3 months after launch — cruise to L2, positioning, calibration and testing, test observations ✨ pic.twitter.com/jr2JcV09hx
"The Spektr-RG orbit observatory has successfully separated from the Blok DM-03 upper stage in the deployment orbit," the state corporation said in a statement.
Roscosmos pointed out that "the collimation, calibration and tests of telescopes along with test observations will be performed" in the next three months during Spektr RG’s flight to a point in space called a Lagrange point (L2). It is the point where the gravitational forces of the Sun and the Earth balance each other out, thus keeping the astronomy satellite in a stable orbit at the same position relative to the Earth.
Proton-M rocket launched from Pad 81 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome at approximately 15.31 Moscow Time (12.31 UTC). The launch of the Spektr-RG space observatory had been initially scheduled for June 21 but it was canceled on its liftoff day. Roscosmos Deputy CEO for Space Systems Mikhail Khailov explained this decision by the problems that had emerged during a check of a non-reusable chemical power source on the space telescope.
On Thursday, Roscosmos told TASS that additional tests had been done prior to the launch. On Friday, the state commission decided to postpone the launch until July 13.
Spektr-RG is a joint Russian-German project intended to chart a detailed map of the sky in the X-ray band. The space observatory will be scanning the sky in a broad energy band with high sensitivity and angular resolution.
Academic of the Russian Academy of Sciences Rashid Syunyaev, the academic supervisor of the spacecraft, told reporters in late April that scientists would expect the spacecraft to detect about three million black holes and to study the X-ray emissions from 700,000 stars.
The Spektr-RG orbit observatory carries two payloads: Russian-made Astronomical Roentgen Telescope - X-ray Concentrator (ART-XC) and German-made Extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array (eROSITA). The spacecraft will be supported on Earth by both Russian and German telescopes and observatories.