Status of the RadioAstron project development
- The engineering model of the Space Radio Telescope (SRT) was assembled
in Lavochkin Association (LA) in the configuration consisting of 10-m parabolic
radio astronomical antenna made of carbon-fiber, F ocal and Device cabins of the
scientific payload and on-board and ground complex of high data rate up-down radio link (VIRK).
The engineering model was shipped to Pushchino observatory (PRAO). Then,radio astronomical tests were conducted using real radio sources. In these tests the SRT was installed on the parallactic turntable under the unfolding hanger in the assembly building specially constructed for radio astronomical tests. The mounting provided pointing the SRT on the calibration radio sources. SRT parameters were measured in a single dish mode and in an interferometric mode in conjunction with the 22-m radio telescope located at a distance of about 500 m from the SRT. Measured parameters of the SRT antenna were found to be well within the specification. The report on the results of tests has been issued.
- Electric and radio tests of the engineering model of the SRT together with the spacecraft bus (SC) were delayed because of the development of new SC "Navigator" at LA for all missions of the SPECTR series. New version of Technical Specifications (TS) for the mission was issued and approved. The TS takes into account all requirements of SC Navigator as well as all recent corrections and decisions. Technical documentation for SC bus was issued, and mass-dimension mock-up was manufactured and assembled size model together with the booster for the simulation of mechanical interfaces and cable system.
- The program of special tests of reliability of flight models was developed at the ASC and it was agreed with LA. The tests are being conducted now. Results of such tests afford prolongation of warranty terms for the devices.
- Engineering model of the 18.4-25.1 GHz receiver was manufactured in 2006. The receiver will provide a possibility to operate in multyfrequency mode. LNA developed at NRAO (USA) was integrated in the receiver, the implementation of the LNA ensures low noise temperature.
- Mission considers possibilities of using two foreign tracking stations (TS) (Green Bank in the USA and Tidbinbilla in Australia). Negitiations between Russia and the USA on this subject are going at high goverment level from 2006.
- TS in Puschino will utilize 22-m radio telescope and the infrastructure of the observatory. In 2008 all electronic equipment (including three-frequency feed system) was installed at the telescope and it was tested in a radioastronomical mode.
- On-board H-maser frequency standard was manufactured and delivered to the ASC in 2008. It was developed by the Russian firm "VREMYA-CH" in Nizhnii Novgorod.
- Assembling of science payload and flight model of the SRT was accomplished at Lavochkin in May 2008. Final tests of scince payload in fool assembled flight configuration will start at the ASC from June 11 2008.
- The time-line was developed for the upgrade of 64-m radio telescope near Kalyazin to operate as ground radio telescope for the mission. The radio telescope is equipped with receivers compatible with the RadioAstron on-board receiver system. 1.6 and 4.8 GHz receivers were installed at the radio telescope and they were used in regular observations with the Japanese space radio telescope HALCA. The efforts are undertaken to incorporate 70-m radio telescope in Ussuriisk.
- Hard disc based recording system was manufactured and tested. It provides data recording in all Radioastron observing modes. Compatibility with Mk5 recording system will be provided by the ASC through disk copying routine.
- The algorithm of data reduction for the multifrequency VLBI observations was developed and tested.
- RISC discusses and formulates key science program, based on the recent observations and theoretical models of various astronomical objects prospective for the study with highest angular resolution. Pre-launch science program is also under discussion.
- International symposium "Radio Universe at Ultimate Angular Resolution" will be held in Moscow on October 20-24 2008. Scientific program of RadioAstron mission, compatibility of receiving and recording systems, coordination in misison operations, data processing and other questions will be discussed at the symposium.
See also the RadioAstron Monthly Notices in a section News on the project web site.