- February 25, 2020, ASC LPI. A meeting was held between the specialists of ASC LPI (the lead contractor of the payload module for the Spektr-M project), ISS JSC (the co-executor responsible for the manufacture of the active cooling system based on closed-cycle space cryocoolers) and the representatives of the French company Air Liquide. Air Liquide is known to be one of the world manufacturers of the space cryocoolers of various temperature levels. At the meeting, the representatives of Air Liquide presented the current level of their technological readiness level for the Spektr-M based on the similar work carried out for the European Space Agency (the ATHENA project). An engineering model could be used for a number of tests within the preliminary stage of work in the Spektr-M project. According to the results of the meeting, the main steps for further actions aimed at successful interaction between the Russian and French parties in the Spektr-M project were decided.
Congratulations to the corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Dr. Igor Novikov with the award of the First John Archibald Wheeler Prize (2020). This award is presented for his contribution to the development of the General Theory of Relativity and the physics of black holes.
This year together with Igor Novikov the famous physicist Kip Thorne (Caltech) and Oxford University professor Roger Penrose also became the laureates of this prize. The prize will be awarded by the President of the Italian Physical Community at the official awards ceremony in Rome on May 22, 2020.
Main Parameters of Millimetron Mission
|Antenna diameter||10 m|
solid, deployable and adjustable in orbit
|Antenna surface accuracy (wave front error)
||6 μm RMS|
|Antenna surface temperature||< 10 K, mechanically cooled|
|Wavelength coverage||10 mm – 70 μm|
|Orbit||Halo round Lagrangian L2 & Moon gravity assist transit to elliptical orbit
|Operational life time||10 year, including cryo >3 years|
|Two observing modes & instrumentation||Space Earth-VLBI||10 – 0.5 mm wavelength|
|Single dish||3 - 0.07 mm wavelength|
|Provisional launch date||2029|
|Mission status||Approved by Russian Space agency|
Millimetron Space Observatory
Millimetron space observatory (Spektr-M) is a project of Astro Space Center of Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences (ASC LPI). It will be a 10-meter space telescope designed to study various objects in the Universe at millimeter and infrared wavelengths from 0.07 to 10 mm. The observatory has two operational modes: the single-dish and Space-Earth interferometer. The first mode will have the best sensitivity to study the weakest sources of the Universe. The second mode will provide high angular resolution up to 10-8 – 10-9 arcseconds to study the structure of the most compact objects in the Universe – supermassive black holes.
High sensitivity is achieved by deep cooling of the telescope mirror system and on-board scientific payload. While, high angular resolution is provided by the orbit configuration. The observatory will be located near the Lagrange point L2 at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from Earth in the anti-solar direction.
Scientific program of Millimetron space observatory is aimed to solve a set of the most important and breakthrough scientific problems in the field of modern astrophysics and cosmology, namely detailed study of black hole shadows, search for wormholes, water trail in the Galaxy, CMB spectral distortions.
Russian Federation leads the project; the state customer of Millimetron observatory is Roscosmos; the head of the project is Astro Space Center of Lebedev Physical Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences. Millimetron is included in the Russian Federal Space Program for 2016-2025 years.
The prime contractor for the development of spacecraft bus is Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Lavochkin Research and Production Association”. The prime contractor for the development of scientific payload and scientific program is Astro Space Center of Lebedev Physical Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences. JSC “Information Satellite Systems – Reshetnev Company” is responsible for the design of space telescope construction, including space antenna, assembly and testing of the scientific payload.