The Spektr-R Radio Telescope in the Baikonur Space Center, within the Launchpad integration and test complex No.31.Photo: RIA Novosti (Wikimedia Commons) Russia's only space radio telescope, Spektr-R (RadioAstron), is no longer responding According to the BBC the spacecraft's control staff on Saturday, even though the head of the Astro Space Center, Nikolai Kardashev, told the BBC that he still transmits scientific data. Spekt-R has a 33-foot antenna antenna, which works in conjunction with ground-based radio telescopes an international program. According to the BBC, Roscosmos employees stated that the vehicle, launched on a fragile Zenit 3F launcher in July 2011, was well beyond an originally planned five-year lifespan. He did not respond on Friday, though he had repeatedly tried to reconnect. Spektr-R Research Director Yuri Kovalev told the BBC there was still hope that the Roscosmos staff could restore functionality: "Specialists in the Space Operations Control Division are working to solve the existing problems … Beginning January 10, 2019, there were problems with the operation of the service systems, which currently make it impossible to solve a specific task, "wrote Roscosmos in a statement to TASS, Russia's state news agency. Further details on the functioning of the malfunction were not immediately available. Russia Beyond, another Russian state media source, reported in 2016 that Spektr-R is expected to continue operating until at least the end of 2018. These included exploration of galactic nuclei and magnetic fields as well as quasars and pulsars and other space projects. The new program focuses on investigations of the inner regions of active galactic nuclei and magnetic fields, monitoring the brightest quasars, exploring water vapor clouds in space, pulsars and interstellar matter, and gravitational experiments etc. The RadioAstron project is based on a ten-meter orbital radio telescope, the unique Spektr-R astrophysical observatory, which together with ground-based radio telescopes forms an integrated radio interferometer with a super-large base. The Observatory's task is to carry out basic astrophysical investigations in electromagnetic spectral ranges. RadioAstron has record discrimination due to distances of up to 350,000 kilometers between the telescopes. When it first launched in 2011, SpaceNews reported at the time that the ship was originally scheduled for launch in 2004 or 2005 "before several delays in construction came. Another recent radio telescope, the Canadian hydrogen intensity mapping experiment (CHIME ), is not yet fully operational, but this week it made the news when it discovered 13 new fast radio impulses, mysterious high energy pulses from unknown, distant sources traveled billions of years across the galaxy. Possible explanations for fast bursts include magnetars (fast rotating neutron stars), neutron star-white-dwarf fusions, collapsed stars, black holes, and – in terms of evidence, far ahead – a kind of artificial extraterrestrial source. CHIME's findings included the second ever reported repetitive fast radio burst, although this week's mission staff told Science Magazine that they would hopefully discover hundreds or even thousands of high-speed radio bursts.[BBC]



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