Russia’s Proton-M rocket – after a lengthy standdown – finally launched the Spektr-RG observatory on Saturday at 12:30 UTC. Proton was expected to lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome last month before a delay was required to replace some faulty batteries on the spacecraft. With the aid of a Blok DM-03 upper stage, this mission deployed its payload two hours after launch.
The Spektr-RG satellite is an international collaboration led by the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roskosmos in partnership with the German Aerospace Centre, DLR, and universities and research institutes in both Russia and Germany. It is the second of three satellites in Roskosmos’ Spektr series, which aims to survey the cosmos across a wide range of electromagnetic frequencies. Spektr-RG covers the x-ray region of the spectrum.