A year ago, on July 13, 2019, the launch of the second spacecraft of the Spektr series, the Spektr-RG, which was developed by the NPO Lavochkin (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), took place.
After the successful operation of the Spektr-R radio telescope, the Spektr-RG orbital observatory continued to open up new possibilities for exploring the Universe. The observatory was created with the participation of Germany in the framework of the Federal Space Program of Russia by order of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The observatory and is equipped with two unique X-ray mirror telescopes: ART-XC (IKI RAS, RFNC-VNIIEF, Russia) and eROSITA (MPE, Germany), operating on the principle of X-ray optics oblique fall. The telescopes are installed on the Navigator space platform (NPO Lavochkina, Russia), adapted for the project objectives. The main goal of the mission is to build a map of the entire sky in the soft (0.3-8 keV) and hard (4-20 keV) ranges of the X-ray Spektr with unprecedented sensitivity. The observatory should work in space for at least 6.5 years, of which are 4 years in the mode of scanning the starry sky, and 2.5 years in the mode of point observation of objects in the Universe.
“This is a resounding success for our space industry and science. Spektr-RG scanned the sky around the clock for six months, transmitting data daily on the antennas of Russian centres at a distance of 1.5 million kilometres from Earth. Telescopes continue their work, there is a second survey of the sky. It is expected that it will last until the end of the year. In total, it is planned to get seven more of these cards. The total card will be approximately 5 times. In this case, our maps and catalogs will serve astrophysicists and cosmologists of all countries of the world for at least the next 20 or 30 years.” - From a letter from the scientific leader of the mission, Academician and astrophysicist Rashid Sunyaev.