Russia launches space telescope

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(Moscow) – Russia launched a space telescope from the cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, in a joint mission with Germany intended to map X-rays across the sky and replace a project lost in January.

Video posted on the website of the Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, showed a Proton-M rocket carrying the Spektr-RG taking off from the launch pad at Baikonur at 1230 GMT.

The launch of the scope, weighing more than 2.7 tonnes, was originally scheduled for June 21 but was postponed twice because of a battery problem.

The Spektr-RG, developed with Germany, is a space observatory intended to replace the Spektr-R, known as the “Russian Hubble”, which Roskosmos said it lost control of in January.

Spektr-R was launched in 2011 to observe black holes, neutron stars and magnetic fields, aiding understanding of cosmic expansion. Its successor will take up similar duties but will also work on completing a high-resolution all-sky map, said Roskosmos.