Russia loses control of orbiting Spektr-R space telescope


The Russian space agency Roscosmos has admitted its Spektr-R space telescope is no longer responding to commands transmitted from Earth.

Engineers are now working to try and regain control of the stricken spacecraft, which malfunctioned on January 10. Spektr-R’s communications systems are no longer working properly, meaning it cannot carry out its controllers’ orders.

It is still able to send scientific data back to ground control in Russia. In a statement released today, Roscosmos said: ‘Beginning with January 10, 2019, problems emerged in the operation of the service systems that currently make it impossible to tackle a targeted task.

Yuri Kovalev, Spektr-R head of research, told the BBC that the Russian space agency lost communications with the satellite on January 11 but also insisted there ‘is still hope’.

Alexander Bloshenko, a scientific advisor to the head of Roscosmos, said a new attempt to set up a link with the telescope would take place on Sunday, ‘The next communication session with the spacecraft is scheduled for 14:00 Moscow time, January 13,’ he said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.  Spektr-R was launched in 2011 and was only supposed to keep working until 2014.

Its replacement will be launched in March 2019.


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