Astron (spacecraft)

Astron (spacecraft)


Astron was a Soviet spacecraft launched on 23 March 1983 at 12:45:06 UTC, using Proton launcher, which was designed to fulfill an astrophysics mission.[1] It was based on the Venera spacecraft design and was operational for six years as the largest ultraviolet space telescope during its lifetime. The project was headed by Alexander Boyarchuk.[2][3]

The spacecraft was designed and constructed by the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory and NPO Lavochkin. A group of scientists from these institutions was awarded the USSR State Prize for their work on Astron.[4]

Astron's payload consisted of an 80 cm ultraviolet telescope which was designed jointly by the USSR and France, and an X-ray spectroscope on board.[5] It could take UV spectra 150-350nm.[6]

Placed into an orbit with an apogee of 185,000 kilometres (115,000 mi) it could make observations outside the Earth's umbra and radiation belt. Among the most important observations by Astron were those of the SN 1987A supernova on March 4–12, 1987[7] and of Halley's Comet in December, 1985, that allowed a group of Soviet scientists to develop a model of the coma surrounding Halley's Comet.[8]

See also

  • Granat - A later space observatory based on the Venera spacecraft bus


  1. ^ J. McDowell. "Jonathan McDowell's launchlog". Jonathan's Space Home Page. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  2. ^ "Spectr-UF Project History" (in Русский). 
  3. ^ "Alexander Boyarchuk" (in Русский). Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Crimean Astrophysical Observatory" (in Русский). Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Astron Satellite".  
  6. ^
  7. ^ A.A. Boyarchuk; et al. (1987). "Observations on Astron: Supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud".  
  8. ^ A.A. Boyarchuk; et al. (1986). "A model for the coma of Comet Halley, based on the Astron ultraviolet spectrophotometry".  
  • A.A. Бойарчук (1994). Астрофизические исследования на космической станции "Астрон" (in Русский). Moscow: