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Na zdorovje!

Submitter: Michael Garrett
Description: ASTRON and JIVE staff recently participated in the symposium - "Radio Universe at [the] Ultimate Angular Resolution". The meeting was organised by the Astro Space Center (ASC) of Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The ASC, together with with other institutions of the RAS, and the Federal Space Agency (FSA), is planning to launch RadioAstron, a 10-metre space VLBI radio telescope that will have an apogee height of up to 350 000 km, corresponding to a resolution of 8 microarcseconds at the highest observing frequncy of 22 GHz. The RadioAstron mission has a long history of delays, but the the current planning aims to launch the telescope in the fourth quarter of 2009. Prof. Nikolai Kardashev (pictured above top RHC) remains very much the driving force behind the project. Kardashev is perhaps best known for proposing the famous Kardashev classification scheme for measuring an (extra-terrestiral) civilisation's level of technical advancememnt. Other famous pioneers of radio astronomy (and VLBI in particular) were also present, including Bernie Burke, Ken Kellermann, Dave Jauncey and "Hirax" Hirabayashi san.

RadioAstron will employ a total of four radio receivers, including a low-frequency 92cm system that may be of potential interest to the low-frequency community that is currently developing around LOFAR and the WSRT. The meeting programme included a tour of the Lavochkin Association facilities in Moscow. Part of the scientific payload (antenna) and the spacecraft bus system were on view (see above).

There were many opportunities to toast the success of the mission - always with a small tot of vodka of course. Willem Baan reminded us that the 7th, 14th and 21st toasts are dedicated to all ladies present - Willem proposed the 7th toast during the conference dinner, but there are few that can recollect who proposed the others! By the way, "za vashe zdorovye" means "cheers!", in Russian.
Copyright: ASTRON
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