Ground tests of one of the key instruments of the Spectr-M space observatory (Millimetron project) are being postponed due to a pandemic. This was reported by TASS, citing statements by the deputy director of the Physics Institute. P. N. Lebedeva of the Russian Academy of Sciences (LPI) Larisa Likhacheva.
The mentioned project, recall, involves the creation of a space telescope with a diameter of the main mirror of 10 meters. The observatory is planned to be brought to the Lagrange point L2 of the Sun – Earth system at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from our planet. The telescope will help in the study of various objects in the universe. The device will be able to function in the millimeter, submillimeter and far infrared ranges of the spectrum.
Spectra-M equipment will include a long-wavelength matrix spectrometer manufactured in Italy. And it was with the tests of this scientific device that difficulties arose.
The prototype device was supposed to fly in a balloon over the northern territory of Russia. However, the Italian Space Agency, due to the spread of the coronavirus, could not allocate the necessary financial resources in time for the organization of the tests, as a result of which the most suitable climatic time for the current year was missed. And therefore, probably, it will be possible to organize testing only in a year.
In any case, scientists still have enough time to test devices within the project. The fact is that the “Spectrum-M” will go into space only in the early 2030s.
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