On Thursday, October 17th, at 10.14 a.m. Moscow time, the Russian Proton-K booster delivered the Integral space vehicle to the designated orbit. The booster was launched from the Baikonur launching site (Kazakhstan). The vehicle's elliptical orbit has the following parameters: 153,000 km in aphelion and 685 km in perihelion.
According to the press service of the Russian Space Troops (RST), this vehicle is a space observatory with about two tons of various scientific equipment onboard. The observatory has been designed and produced by the European Space Agency (ESA).
It is equipped with advanced physical devices capable of monitoring deep space for 2-5 years. This refers to studying bursts of pulsars, registering gamma radiation and electromagnetic waves within the Roentgen band approaching the Earth, monitor the formation and life of "black holes" in space and transmit obtained photo and telemetric data back to the Earth.
The observatory's orbit is located above the Earth's radiation field so that it cannot distort the results of the deep space monitoring. Officials from the RST press service emphasised that the Proton-K booster alone could deliver a satellite to such an orbit.
This launch of the Proton-K booster from Baikonur was the 294th such an operation in the site's 40-year history. Two hundred and fifty eight launches were successful.