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Russian space telescope Spektr-R stops responding

By
Danielle Haynes
The Spektr-R space telescope, launched in 2011, was expected to have a five-year lifespan. File Photo courtesy of NPO Lavochkin
The Spektr-R space telescope, launched in 2011, was expected to have a five-year lifespan. File Photo courtesy of NPO Lavochkin

Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Russian space officials said Saturday they're working to re-establish contact with the country's Spektr-R space radio telescope, which stopped responding to commands.

Astro Space Center chief Nikolai Kardashev said that though the telescope stopped responding, it's still transmitting scientific information. The link went down Friday morning.

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"Specialists of the Main Operational Group of Spacecraft Control are carrying out work to remove the existing problems," Russia's state space corporation, Roscosmos, said.

Russia launched the Spektr-R into space in 2011 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The long-delayed project was expected to have a lifespan of five years. The telescope was meant to study black holes, pulsars and other deep-space objects.

With a 30-foot-wide antenna dish, the Spektr-R is part of an international astronomy project that worked in conjunction with radio telescopes on Earth.

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