MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. Russia and France are drafting an agreement under the program of launching the Spektr-M (Millimetron) observatory to study deep space objects and look for traces of extraterrestrial life, Deputy Director of the Lebedev Physical Institute within the Russian Academy of Sciences Larisa Likhachyova told TASS on Wednesday.
"We have started to draft an agreement with the French space agency," she said.
Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolai Kardashyov said earlier when he was head of the Astro Space Center at the Lebedev Physical Institute that Italy, France, China and other countries were planning to take part in the Millimetron project.
The agreement on the Millimetron project is at the final stage with South Korea and Russia has already signed a document on cooperation with the Italian space agency, Likhachyova said. The Russian-Chinese space exploration program also envisages cooperation under the Spektr-M project, Likhachyova stated.
Efforts are currently underway to develop working design documentation for the spacecraft, she specified. "Simultaneously, work is ongoing to create design and technological mock-ups," she noted, adding that this stage would last until 2023.
The scientist said, however, that the Spektr-M observatory might be launched no sooner than 2030 due to cuts in financing under the Spektr-M program in 2019.
The Spektr-M observatory is designed to study deep space objects in the millimeter, sub-millimeter and far infrared bands of the spectrum. The space observatory will allow scientists to get data on the global structure of the Universe, the structure and the evolution of galaxies, their nuclei, stars, planetary systems, objects with the super-strong gravitational and electromagnetic fields and also data on organic compounds in outer space.
Scientists are planning to launch the Spektr-M observatory to a distance of 1.5 million kilometers, to the Lagrange L2 point of equal impact of the Sun-Earth system’s gravitational forces. The Lavochkin Research and Production Association is the main contractor for creating the spacecraft. The Astro Space Center of the Lebedev Physical Institute is the basic contractor for making scientific equipment while the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems Company is its associate contactor responsible for designing the telescope and assembling and testing the onboard scientific equipment.