‘Lomonosov’ embarks to the orbit
Today, April the 28th, 5 hours 1 minute Moscow time, the first launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome took place. The carrier rocket "Soyuz-2.1a" put scientific satellite of the Moscow State University "Lomonosov", spacecraft "Aist-2D" and nano-satellite SamSat-218.
The "Lomonosov" satellite was introduced on February the 24th. It is an international project which engaged scientists, graduate and undergraduate students from South Korea, Canada, USA, Poland, Germany, Italy and Spain
"Lomonosov" is intended for researching such extreme cosmic phenomena as gamma-ray bursts and cosmic rays of extremely high energy in the Earth's atmosphere, near space and the Universe. Moreover, the satellite will monitor the radiation environment and the dangerous objects in near-Earth space in collaboration with a network of "Master" ground-based telescopes.
The device is planned to be launched to an altitude of 490 kilometers. Its weight is 645 kilograms, and it contains 160 kilograms of scientific equipment. The "Lomonosov" satellite is expected to work for three years in orbit.
'Today is an important day not only for the Lomonosov Moscow State University, but also for the entire country and science in general. The real space program at the Moscow University started with the launch of our own satellites. In 2005 we launched the satellite "Tatiana", in 2009 – "Tatiana-2". They completed their programs successfully. Now we start the real space research station. No university in the world has such cosmic science lab,' says the rector of the Lomonosov Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy.
'"Lomonosov" is a modern research space station at the forefront of the fundamental science. This is an international project, which joined the forces of experts from the US, Germany, Canada and other countries, but certainly the decisive contribution, both financial, scientific and intellectual was provided by students, graduate students and young scientists of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The satellite is designed to study space and astrophysical measurements: it will monitor the asteroid danger, study the interaction of high-energy radiation from outside galaxy.
It is a true victory of our country. You know, 'Before us gapes a well of stars'? These are the words of Mikhail Lomonosov, which precisely suite to this launch.'
All the scientific data collected by the spacecraft "Lomonosov" will be available to the international scientific community concerned with fundamental space physics, astrophysics, Earth's atmosphere and other phenomena.
'From the Earth orbit, using a space experiment, we will first study the particles of the highest energies that exist in the Universe,' tells the director of the Skobeltsyn Research Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University Mikhail Panasyuk. 'We observe an acceleration of cosmic particles called cosmic rays in the Universe. The particles with the greatest energies are difficult to measure from the ground, because they are very few. Now we will do this with the space experiment onboard.
Secondly, the unit will study gamma-ray bursts, which are the result of explosive processes in the Universe. These processes took place a long time ago, right after the Big Bang, that is, in the era of the birth of the Universe. They were accompanied by a large release of energy: generation of gamma radiation, ultraviolet radiation, visible light. Onboard the "Lomonosov" satellite a set of instruments will study gamma-ray bursts in the gamma range with gamma detectors developed at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, as well as in the visible, ultraviolet and X-ray bands with telescopes created at the Sternberg State Astronomical Institute.
The third scientific challenge set within the experiment is the study of the radiation environment of Earth. The phenomena related to radiation can also be attributed to extreme events, as during the disturbances that occur on the Sun, the so-called geomagnetic storms, radiation situation changes dramatically, radiation fluxes increase, which creates a danger to spacecraft and humans in space. "Lomonosov" will help to understand the physics behind those changes.
The fourth task is to test the system, which refers to the space biology. This is an electronic system that can adjust the shortcomings of the human vestibular apparatus, which appear during periods of weightlessness. All four of these areas we will try to implement onboard "Lomonosov" satellite.
Also the onboard telescopes will observe the technogenic objects around the Earth. This is the system for monitoring the asteroid hazard. This system will work together with the ground equipment, the system of "Master", which has already been monitoring the cosmic danger both of the man-made and natural character.'
According to Mikhail Panasyuk, the program under implementation is unique. Many universities around the world participate in the implementation of space programs, from nano-satellites to major experiments. However, "Lomonosov" is an integral scientific project.
The "Aist-2D" satellite, which will also be onboard the carrier rocket, designed for remote sounding of the Earth. Nano SamSat-218 satellite is a part of the "Contact" scientific equipment, whose tasks include testing of the control technologies in small spacecraft.
The construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Amur region began in 2010. Originally it was planned to conduct the first launch in December 2015. However, mid-October last year, President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the works stay behind schedule and proposed to move the start to the next year.
The total area of the Vostochny is about 700 square kilometers. The cosmodrome is supposed to provide full access for Russia to the space, and reduce dependence of Russian cosmonautics on Baikonur, located in Kazakhstan.