Russian scientists defy Rogozin, will not reactivate German instrument on Spektr-RG telescope

It appears that the Russian astronomers who use their instrument on the Spekr-RG space telescope are refusing to follow the orders of Dmitry Rogozin to reactivate the German instrument — dubed eROSITA — which the Europeans shut down in response to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

[T]he head of the Russian Space Research Institute, Lev Matveevich Zelenyi, spoke out against the unauthorized activation of eROSITA to Gazeta: “Our institute – all the scientists – categorically object to this. This objection is both for political and technical reasons.”

“This is not a Russian device. I can’t judge how realistic this whole thing is, I don’t know if our specialists have processing codes… But even if they have, it will be simply impossible to publish this data – no journal will accept it and will do it right,” he added.

Rogozin however appears adamant about taking over eROSITA. But then again, Rogozin blusters a lot, with many of this worst blusters having no bite behind them.

Russia to take control of German telescope on space orbiter

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, revealed today that he has issued orders for the scientists running the Spektr-RG telescope to figure out how to take over operations of the German instrument on the telescope.

“I gave instructions to start work on restoring the operation of the German telescope in the Spektr-RG system so it works together with the Russian telescope,” he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

The head of Roscosmos said the decision was necessary for research. “They – the people that made the decision [to shut down the telescope] don’t have a moral right to halt this research for humankind just because their pro-fascist views are close to our enemies,” he said.

The Europeans had shut down operations when it broke off all of its space partnerships with Russia, following the Ukraine invasion and the decision of Russia to confiscate 36 OneWeb satellites rather than launch them as it was paid to do.

Germany turns off its instrument on the Spektr-RG orbiting X-ray telescope

As part of Germany’s decision to break off all scientific cooperation with Russia in response to Russia’s Ukraine invasion, the Max Plank Institute has turned off its instrument on the Spektr-RG orbiting X-ray telescope.

Meanwhile, Roscosmos’ head, Dmitry Rogozin revealed he will demand compensation from Europe for its sanctions, including this shut down on Spektr-RG.

Europe’s sanctions cause real losses to Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos. The corporation will estimate them and demand a compensation from partners in Europe, Roscosmos’s press-service told TASS on Tuesday. “They have caused harm to the Spektr-RG laboratory’s research program by turning off one of the two telescopes. Their sanctions cause real losses to us. The damage will be estimated and a bill presented to the European side,” Roscosmos said.

It now appears that all the European cooperation with Russia in space is likely dead, at least until Russia gets out of the Ukraine.

More Russian launch delays

Three stories out of Russia today suggest that that country’s aerospace industry has not yet fixed all of its quality control problems.

The last two stories both refer to the launch of Germany’s Spektr-RG, which was originally supposed to launch in 2014. The most recent schedule said the astronomical observatory would be launched in September 2018. That they need an extra month in order to “integration and ground development of the Spektr-RG spacecraft” does not seem out of line. At the same time, that they do not provide any reasons for the delay raises questions.

Meanwhile, that the Proton rocket for the Amazonas-5 launch has not yet been shipped seems incredible. The September 9 launch date was announced on August 9. You would expect that by now Russian companies would know exactly how long it takes to get a rocket to the launchpad. This suggests another more fundamental problem with the rocket that they are not revealing.

I know I am being a bit harsh on the Russians here. A more positive spin (which also might be true) might be that they are finally getting a handle on their quality control issues, and the result is these few additional delays as they clean things up.