Orbited by Russian booster, European satellite integral becomes operational

The European automatic observatory satellite Integral, launched by the Russian Proton-K carrier rocket on Thursday morning from the Baikonur cosmodrome, has become operational.

The RIA Novosti correspondent learnt from the press service of the Russian Space Troops that, having reached the destination orbit, the satellite unfolded its solar batteries and now a sustainable telemetric communication is maintained with it.

Its orbital parameters are - maximal distance from the Earth is 153,000 kilometers, minimal 658 kilometers, round-the-Earth period is 72 hours. The satellite's orbital lifetime is up to 5 years. The on-board research equipment, made by over 30 enterprises in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark and others, weighs about 600 kilogrammes.

The Integral observatory satellite is designed to discover gamma-radiation from far-out star clusters, observe the Universe in the gamma-, X-ray and visible spectrum of electromagnetic waves.

"It was not problematic to put the satellite into orbit", said the press service. "We only had to put it into a very oblong orbit with the lowest point lying higher than near-Earth radiation belts, which distort space observation. For that the three-stage carrier rocket Proton-K put the satellite into a circular parking orbit and then, with the help of the fourth stage (acceleration unit), to the destination elliptical orbit. All the ground-based means of the Space Troops were put to use -- up to the Far Eastern cosmodrome Svobodny and the Easternmost tracking station in the Kamchatka peninsula. Under control of the Space Troops' command post, the in-coming information was processed by the main test center for spacecraft control and testing".

"All services have done good teamwork and the Integral observatory satellite has already began to scrutinize the far corners of the Universe. The satellite's international registration number in the catalogue of space objects is 02048001", said the press service of the Russian Space Troops.

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Author`s name Editorial Team