All change at NASA while Proton launches and India's Moon dream suffers a snag | 7/16/2019 | Staff
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Roundup While some at NASA may still be obsessing over past glories, other eyes remained fixed on the Moon, Mars and beyond in this week's rocket-bothering roundup.

Russia's veteran Proton-M launcher finally left launch pad 81 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 15:30:57 Moscow time on 13 July.

Proton-M - Proton - Variant - Lifter - Module

The Proton-M is derived from the original Proton, first launched back in 1965. The Proton-K variant (now retired) of the heavy lifter launched the first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, at the end of 1998, followed by Zvezda in 2000.

While the comparatively lightweight observatory, Spektr-RG, only weighed in at 2,712kg, it has quite a trek ahead of it. The X-ray facility will be stationed at the L2 Lagrangian point, approximately 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, after a three-month cruise.

Launch - June - Faulty - Battery - Launch

The original launch in June was called off to deal with a faulty battery. A planned launch on Friday was scrapped due to more technical issues with the rocket. Saturday's attempt, however, went off without a hitch.

The mission, led by Russia, is expected to last for 6.5 years, four of which will be spent surveying the sky and the remainder observing points of interest.

Telescope - Germany - Max - Planck - Institute

The main telescope is eROSITA, developed by Germany's Max Planck Institute. With its seven gold-plated mirror modules and a camera cooled to -90˚C, boffins hope to learn more about dark energy thanks to the spectral and spatial resolution afforded by the hardware.

Things did not go quite so well for India as launch of the country's flagship and much-delayed mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2, was called off at the last minute due to what officials called a "technical snag" with the GSLV MkIII-M1 launcher.

Scrub - Hour - Chandrayaan-2 - Launchpad

The scrub happened less than an hour before Chandrayaan-2 was due to leave the launchpad.

The ambitious mission, should it ever get off the ground, consists of an orbiter, lander and...
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