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Launch RadioAstron (2)

Submitter: Leonid Gurvits
Description: On 18th July 2011, after several decades of development, the Russian Space VLBI mission RadioAstron has blasted off from the Baikonur space port in Kazakhstan. A few weeks earlier, the main component of the mission, the spacecraft Spectr-R (Picture 1) equipped with a deployable 10-m parabolic antenna was mated with the space launcher Zenit -3FB (Picture 2). The spectacular launch in early hours of 18th July 2011 (Picture 3) has been watched in situ by several representatives of the international RadioAstron community, including Lout Sondaar (Picture 4), a retired engineer of ASTRON, the only member of the RadioAstron team awarded in 1992 with the Gagarin Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences. At the time of this writing, the RadioAstron team is trying to control its breath in anticipation of the deployment of the Spectr-R antenna in space…
Copyright: No. 1-3 – TSENKI, Russian Space Agency; No. 4 – L.Gurvits, JIVE
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