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Soviets Include Mars Probe in '88 Space Plans

January 04, 1988|From Times Wire Services

MOSCOW — The Soviet Union will add extensions to its manned orbiting station Mir this year, conduct space research with France and Poland and send a probe to one of the moons of Mars, a senior space official said on Sunday.

Vyacheslav M. Balebanov, deputy director of the Space Research Institute, told the armed forces newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda that projects planned for 1988 include the launch of a new observatory with French and Polish help to study gamma rays.

He said that extensions to be launched and connected to the Mir space station will give cosmonauts more room to carry out research. One of the new modules is to allow study of the Earth, its atmosphere and its oceans with the help of a space-borne video-computer designed in conjunction with Czechoslovak, East German, Hungarian and Bulgarian specialists.

Mir's latest occupants are cosmonauts Vladimir Titov, 40, and Musa Manarov, 36, launched Dec. 22 on a yearlong mission.

They replaced space endurance record-holder Yuri Romanenko, 43, and his partner, Alexander Alexandrov, 40. Romanenko spent 326 days aboard the Mir and Alexandrov six months.

The new crew's work will include astrophysical research inside Kvant, the first module to hook up with Mir. Launched last year, it is moored to one of the station's six docking ports.

Study of Gamma Radiation

Balebanov said a space observatory called Gamma 1, built with French and Polish assistance, will be launched to study gamma radiation from distant parts of the universe.

In another Franco-Soviet project, an Astron-type satellite containing a gamma ray and X-ray observatory equipped with a French gamma-telescope will be launched in 1988, he said, adding that Bulgaria and Denmark will be taking part in the experiment.

The official said the Soviet Union's powerful new booster rocket, Energia, opened broad research perspectives. Without mentioning any specific projects, he said Energia, first tested last year, could launch even the heaviest scientific apparatus.

"The new super booster Energia opens up wide-ranging prospects," he said. "Such boosters will enable us to study and explore very distant objects."

The 180-foot Energia, which one day will lift the Soviet shuttle, can carry a 100-ton payload. The two-stage booster, which resembles the American Saturn 5 rocket, runs on liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Its four engines each generate 200 tons of thrust.

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