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  Soviet - Russian Space
  Russia's RadioAstron space telescope (space VLBI)

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Author Topic:   Russia's RadioAstron space telescope (space VLBI)
SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-18-2011 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New Scientist reports that RadioAstron successfully blasted into orbit from Baikonur at 6:31 a.m. local time on Monday morning.
A Russian space telescope conceived during the Cold War is set to launch on Monday. When it reaches an orbit that will extend almost as far as the moon, the RadioAstron mission will sync up with radio antennas on the ground, effectively forming the biggest telescope yet built, with a "dish" spanning almost 30 times the Earth's diameter.

RadioAstron's roots extend back more than three decades, but the mission lost momentum when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. "For 20 years it was always five years away," says collaborator Ken Kellermann of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia.

At 10 metres, RadioAstron's antenna is small compared to Earth's largest radio telescopes, which span 100 metres or more. But when its signals are combined with those of telescopes on the ground – a technique called interferometry – the resulting observations are as sharp as those produced by a single telescope with a dish as wide as the maximum distance between the component antennas.

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