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by RAS Corresponding Member Lev ZELYONY, Director of the RAS Institute of Space Research; Yuri ZAITSEV, Head of Department of the same Institute
In 1965 the Soviet Government issued its decision on the establishment in Moscow of the Institute of Space Studies (IKI) - the main Center of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR for studies and uses of space in the interests of fundamental science.
The Institute did not appear out of nothing. From the early 1960s the Soviet Union conducted regular launchings of "Cosmos" satellites. There were the first flights of our unmanned interplanetary and lunar stations and scientists were developing the "Prognoz" program of high-altitude magnetospheric probes. These studies and technical preparations were carried out in conjunction with different centers of the Academy and other agencies. The volume of these R&D activities continued to grow and this required a concentration of the efforts of scientists which led to the establishment of the new Center. Appointed to the post of Director of IKT was Acad. Georgy Petrov, an expert in the field of aeromechanics and gas dynamics. In the beginning the departments and laboratories of the new research center were scattered all over Moscow. The establishment of its infrastructure took place on the 14th kilometer of the Starokaluzhskoye Highway - a spot far removed from the city center. The first four 2-storey buildings of the Center were occupied by the management, administrative and auxiliary services, etc. By the middle of the 1970s construction was completed of the main building and then of the control-and-testing and flight-testing stations - the main laboratory and test stand of the IKI with some unique equipment. It could be used for mechanical tests of on-board equipment (vibration, shocks, linear overloads), thermo-vacuum, climatic impacts, electric compatibility and strength of insulation. As it continued to grow, the Station became Academy's main testing site for cosmic instrument-making.
In 1967 another big section of the Institute was established in the city of Frunze (now Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan). It was a special R&D Bureau with an experimental production unit. After
the collapse of the Soviet Union the Center turned out to be on foreign soil, became a joint-stock enterprise and is now cooperating with the IKI on a contract basis. In 1978, the RAS Presidium decided to set up in the town of Tarusa (Kaluga Region) an experimental instrument-making center. 8 years later it was turned into a Special R&D Bureau of Cosmic Instrument engineering with the status of an independent section of the Institute. The same status belongs to the Terminalnaya Station located in the town of Yevpatoria (Crimea, Ukraine) established in 1977 which has an automated complex of data processing and transmission attached to the Center of Long-distance Space Communications.
The main areas of Institute research-high-energy astrophysics, radioastronomy, studies of planets and minor heavenly bodies, space plasma physics, remote sounding of the Earth, celestial mechanics and control systems, optical physical studies, telecommunication networks and systems, cosmic instrument-making and scientific-educational activities. Experts of the Center are also developing programs of space studies, developing and testing sets of equipment for projects adopted by RAS, Roscosmos and those included into Federal Space Program.
IKI specialists took part in the preparation of national and international experiments, obtaining and processing of data supplied by space probes. In near-Earth space the most important are the results obtained in the system of solar wind - magneto-sphere - ionosphere of the Earth with the help of PROGNOZ satellites. There were 10 successful launches of these satellites from 1972 to 1983, covering with observations an 11-year cycle of solar activities*. A large volume of data has been accumulated about close connection between phenomena on the Sun and on our planet. These studies accentuate the importance of protecting our atmosphere, biosphere and space and ground engineering system from outbursts of hot plasma clouds from the solar corona.
New data about plasma in near space has been obtained by experiments with sets of instruments mounted on several orbital probes operating on a common program. In 1995 - 2001 scientists using INTERBOL system studied in detail physical processes in the magnetosphere of the Earth taking place during sub-storms (local disturbances of magnetic field), dissipation of energy** stored in its "tail", zones of aurora borealis and ionosphere which made it possible to divide for the first time the spatial and temporal variations of the measured parameters. It has been possible to trace the large-scale dynamics of disturbances of the magnetosphere during outbursts of large masses of plasma from the outer regions of the Sun and formation of giant "magnetic clouds". Thanks to the long time taken by these experiments it was possible to observe a global restructuring of the plasma shell of the Earth in the period when the interplanetary magnetic field changes its direction from southern to northern.
The conducted measurements have considerably influenced our notions about the physics of the magnetospheres of big planets and processes on remote astrophysical
* See: V. Kuzhevsky, "Object of Studies - the Sun", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2002. -Ed.
** Dissipation of energy-transition of part of energy of orderly processes (electric current) into disorderly processes and, finally, into heat. - Ed.
objects. Specialists engaged on the INTERBOL program have joined the analysis of data coming from the CLUSTER satellites (European Space Agency) launched with the help of the Russian SOYUZ-FREGAT carrier*.
Studies of Venus and Mars from board of unmanned probes revealed surprising examples of natural complexes formed there which are very different from those on our planet. Their combined studies have revealed the interconnections and the specifics of the formation of each of them and prompted the development of comparative planetology on whose achievements will depend our understanding of the true essentials of the origin and the present conditions of the Earth atmosphere**.
An important contribution into cosmology was provided by the unprecedented VEGA project*** for studies of the Halley Comet (and also Venus - for the first time in the world with the help of balloon probes). As a result a large volume of data was obtained about the composition of its nucleus, physical characteristics, interaction with solar wind which made it possible to draw a realistic picture of this space object which had not been studied in detail before.
The main objective of the PHOBOS project (1988 - 1990)-an analysis of the matter of this Martian satellite unfortunately remained unful-
* See: Yu. Markov, "FREGAT: Take-off Soon", Science in Russia, No. 2, 1995. - Ed.
** See: E. Galimov, "Perspectives of Planets Studies", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2004. - Ed.
* ** See: E. Gorchakov, B. Tverskoy, "Cosmo-physics", Science in Russia, No. 6, 1995. - Ed.
filled*. But the expedition gathered more valuable data about the plasma surroundings of Mars than all of our previous ones. In particular, thanks to the mass-spectrometer measurements conducted for the first time scientists determined the important role in the evolution of the intensity of oxygen erosion on the Red Planet. They discovered a plasma layer in its magnetic "tail" and amplified the processes of ions acceleration in these conditions.
IKI scientists also made considerable progress in astrophysical research. The high-sensitivity RELIKT radiometer mounted on the PROGNOZ-9 satellite (July 1983 - February 1984) opened up new possibilities of dealing with cosmological problems linked with the structure and evolution of the Universe and the formation of galaxies. The ASTRON observatory (launched in March 1987) successfully functioned on a high-apogee orbit for more than 7 years and for more than 10 years the GRANAT which replaced it (December 1989). The RENTGEN observatory on the KVANT module** functioned since 1987 up to the sinking of the MIR orbital complex. From the data obtained by it of the greatest interests are observations of a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The list of IKI achievements includes many unique research projects on remote sounding of the Earth in the optical and radio bands. Many of them have already found practical
* See: "Getting to Know the Universe", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2005. - Ed.
** See: M. Lapina, "Phobos Mission: Food for Thought", Science in Russia, No. 2, 1990. - Ed.
applications in dealing with scientific, economic and social problems. Thus space radars have made it possible to study in details various processes in the World Ocean, such as characteristics of the large-scale part of the spectrum of surface disturbances, traces of spilling of petroleum products, directions of major currents and carry out initial experiments for studies of the anisotropic* effect discovered by the Institute scientists back in 1973. Their record of achievements also includes the mechanism of generation of large-scale vortex structures in air media with small-scale spiral turbulence. A database of atmospheric vortexes is being built now which will make it possible to develop new approaches to the prognostication of trajectories of powerful cyclones on the basis of their physical precursors and indicators.
In the field of astrophysical studies if key importance remains the project SPEKTR-RENTGEN-GAMMA (SPEKTR-RG)**. Its main objectives are prolonged up to several months observations (coordinated with ground one in the radio and optical bands) of a number of sources-active nuclei of galaxies and a super-massive black hole in the center of our stellar system. The necessary instruments are being designed and built with the active cooperation with Great Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy, Israel and other countries.
The IKI is participating in studies of the International Astrophysical Observatory INTEGRAL*** operating in the same energy band as SPEKTR-RG. It was put into orbit by the Russian carrier-rocket PROTON which entitles Russian scientists to use 27 percent of the total observation time. Thanks to this cooperation they have built a detailed map of the central region of our Galaxy in gamma-rays with sensitivity appreciably higher than achieved previously****. IKI scientists also identified hard roentgen emission from a galactic molecular cloud located "only" 300 light years away from the aforesaid super-massive black hole. They also discovered an earlier unknown population of gamma-radiation sources, a new class of cosmic gamma-flashes with a very low luminosity whose number may appear insignificant (until now this was impossible because of an insufficient sensitivity of the observation instruments). And one is led to the conclusion that in actual fact the Universe is much more active than we thought until now.
The only national project for studies of the Solar system included into the Federal Cosmic Program PHOBOS-GRUNT, is being prepared by IKI in conjunction with the RAS Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry named after V. Vernadsky, the RAS Institute of Radiotechnology and Electronics, the Lavochkin R&D Amalgamation, et al. It provides for the development of a space
* Anisotropy-dependence of properties of physical objects on orientation. Characteristic, for example, for elastic, thermal and optical properties of crystals. - Ed.
** See: Yu. Markov, "Forum of Scientists' Science in Russia, No. 1, 2005. - Ed.
*** See: Yu. Markov, "Integral in Orbit" Science in Russia, No. 2, 2003. - Ed.
**** See: A. Galperin, "Solar Flares of Gamma-Rays ", Science in Russia, No. 4, 1997. - Ed.
probe for a flight to the satellite of Mars-Phobos (planned date - 2009) and bringing back Earth soil samples. Left on Phobos will be a long-lived station which will continue studies in an automatic regime and monitoring of the climate of the Red Planet and the surrounding space.
Russian scientists are also taking an active part in planetary studies of other countries. The neutron detector HEND developed at the IKI has successfully solved one of the main problems of the NASA Project Mars-Odyssey-studies of the neutron radiation of Mars. It now continues these measurements on a Martian orbit*. With the help of this Russian probe it has been possible to discover vast amounts of water under its surface and measure the dynamics of seasonal deposits of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Institute scientists provided a tangible contribution to experiments on the American Martian probes SPIRIT, OPPORTUNITY and the European planetary mission MARS-EXPRESS** conceived as a rescue mission for the Russian MARS-96 probe, which failed to go into its flight trajectory: its objectives and the set of scientific instruments have been "inherited" from the lost station. Russian specialists have also been invited to participate in the new project of the European Space Agency VENUS EXPRESS - a flight to Venus for studies of its orbit.
Speaking about further plans of international cooperation in planetary studies, one has to mention above all the program NASA-MNL-2009 (a large long-life Martian probe). Chosen for it has been a set of Russian experiments which will make it possible to locally determine the level of hudrogen in soil as that was done from orbit by the aforesaid HEND probe. Russian specialists also have some interesting proposals for the PASTER European Program-having a Martian probe for the searches of life or its traces! For the European mission to Mercury BEPI COLOMBO, a Russian-Japanese camera is proposed for studies of the finest, rather conditional atmosphere of Mercury in the rays of sodium, a neutron instrument and analyzer of plasma of its magneto-sphere.
In the field of space plasma physics and solar-terrestrial "relations" of great importance has been the experience gained by the Institute while cooperating with the INTERBOL project. As a result scientists came closer to the understanding of "cause-and-effect" links of processes in the near and remote interplanetary space. This helps with the basics of prognostication of weather in space***. What makes this problem important for our planet? The thing is that far from it there appear disturbances which directly influence our technological complexes (reduced accuracy
* See: I. Mitrofanov, "Solving Martian Secrets", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2002. - Ed.
** See: M. Litvak, "Seasons on Mars", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2004. - Ed.
*** Cosmic weather - space and time variations of cosmos parameters depending on solar activities. - Ed.
of our navigational systems, breaks in our short-wave communication, and in power transmission lines, in transport signaling systems, in gas pipelines, etc.) and such negative impacts are even more damaging for space studies (failures of electronic systems, early descent from orbit of low-flying satellites etc.). Therefore the monitoring of interplanetary space "here and now" becomes an indispensable condition of our successful activities in space.
The key element of prognostication of weather in space is constant monitoring of solar wind on its way to the Earth which means that there should be a multilevel system. In the ionosphere, on low orbits, this problem will be solved by CHIBIS microsatellites of the Institute and in the inner magnetosphere and radiation belts by RESONANCE satellites which are being prepared for launching. Their main objective are studies of what experts call fine dynamics of the radiation belt, or interactions of waves with particles. One more satellite will be positioned on the "upper floor" - some 1.5 mln km away from our planet, in the liberation point* near the sun-Earth line along which are moving dangerous "magnetic clouds" generated by the Sun. This position of the space apparatus will ensure highly accurate prognostication of magnetic storms one or two hours before they begin.
To obtain more early warnings (without reducing their accuracy) the instrument has to be positioned at an even greater distance. IKI specialists have developed their KLIPPER project according to which a group of microsatellites will be located 3 to 4 mln km away from our planet. Each satellite will be equipped with a "sail" of thin metallized film. Light pressure upon these sails should compensate the excessive (as compared with liberation point) attraction of the Sun. This should help stabilize the space apparatuses at a certain point in space and, if necessary, to bring them closer to the investigated object. That will give extra time for taking measures on the Earth in case of the passage of the "magnetic cloud".
The project INTERGELIOZOND which is planned for a more distant future is being prepared by the IKI in conjunction with the RAS Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radiowaves Propagation and the R&D Amalgamation named after Lavochkin. It provides for studies of the Sun and Mercury at closer range. The space probe will be sent there using a gravitational maneuver near Venus. Its first orbit with the distance from the
* At liberation point a heavenly body, moving under the effect of attraction of two others with considerable mass (here-Earth and Sun), can be in a state of relative equilibrium to them. - Ed.
Sun of the order of 60 of its radii (42 mln km and later 30). Then it will be possible to trace the same details on its surface for longer time (about 7 days). Using special low-thrust engines it will be possible to change the inclination of the orbit of the probe and "take a look" into the polar regions of the Sun invisible from the Earth.
Other promising projects include multi-satellite ROI (English name SWARM-F) for precision measurements in the critical areas of the magnetosphere, and the POLAR-ECLIPTICAL PATROL for global observations of the Sun for the prognostication and control of cosmos weather, and LUNNAYA TEN (lunar shadow) for monthly observations of eclipses from board of a space probe. All of these projects are so far at the initial stage.
The IKI scientists have taken part in preparing an extensive program of studies at the International Space Station planned for 2007 - 2009 and later. This includes several experiments for studies of plasma-wave processes of interactions of super-large probes with the ionosphere, ecological monitoring of low-frequency electromagnetic emissions of anthropogenic nature and connected with global natural cataclysms. One of the main objectives of these studies-selection of the flows of energy entering the ionosphere from "down below" (from the Earth) against the background of solar ("from top") emissions. This should help make more effective cosmic weather forecasts.
It is planned to deliver to the International Space Station the Russian wide-angle X-ray telescope SPIN-X for regular observations of the Galaxy (83 percent of the sphere) in the hard roentgen band and the on-board neutron telescope BTN-2 for observations of the appropriate radiation background component inside the probe, of the neutron albedo of the Earth and for the registration of solar flares and cosmic gamma-bursts. Its "detector element" will be a spare HEND device. Comparisons of its measurements with those provided by its "twin" operating on a near-Martian orbit, will supply data on the radiation safety of future manned missions to Mars.
The main objective of another project for the International Space Station-observations from it of atmospheres of planets. Experts are working on a specialized observatory with a telescope of a moderate size (main mirror 400 mm in diameter), and receiver apparatuses operating in a broad spectral band. The objective of the RUSALKA experiment (manual spectral analyzer of components of atmosphere) - development of methods of determination of CO2 and methane levels in the atmosphere of the Earth. No such studies from board space probes have been conducted until now.
Today IKI RAS is doing an impressive amount of work for the Federal Space Program. That includes 26 themes on the basis of budget financing, 35 for the Russian Fund of Fundamental Studies, 10-by foreign grants etc. In a word, on the year of its jubilee the IKI scientists are looking into their future with optimism. We believe that the new achievements of Russian researchers will provide worthy contributions to the studies of space and to our role in these studies.
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