AirBridgeCargo Airline (ABC) has done its part to help map the heavens and decipher the origins of the universe.
The Russian carrier transported the eROSITA X-ray telescope from Germany to Russia on the maindeck of one of its 747 freighters. By next spring, the delicate scientific instrument is to be launched into orbit aboard the Russian Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma (SRG) “spacecraft.
Once in orbit, the telescope will begin scanning the universe, using X-rays to decipher how cosmic structures evolve.
The telescope consists of seven modules with 54 nested, gold-coated mirrors in each, which collect X-ray photons and guide them to the X-ray-sensitive cameras. That’s some pretty sensitive gear, which is why engineers from the Max Planck Institute were on hand to monitor the temperature environment before the telescope was loaded onboard the 747F and delivered to Russian aerospace company, Lavochkin Association.
In Russia, the telescope will be attached to the SRG spacecraft, and then launched into space with a Proton rocket from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft will then travel some 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
“Once in space next year, eROSITA will completely enhance the way we view the universe,” said Walter Morris, sales manager at AirBridgeCargo.