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    Spektr-R astrophysical observatory to be launched in 2008

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    MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) - An international orbital astrophysical observatory, Spektr-R, will be launched in 2008, an organizer of the project announced on Monday.

    Georgy Polishchuk, general director of Russia's Lavochkin science and production association, said Spektr-R will be launched as part of the Radioastron project.

    The experiment will help monitor solar wind using telescopes and microsatellites equipped with "solar sails". Sunlight photons impact the sails, eventually driving the microsatellites 3-4 million km from the Earth, where they will be able to gather advance data on magnetic storms.

    Polishchuk also said a second-generation geostationary hydrometeorological space complex, Elektro-L, would be launched in 2008 to take multispectral shots of the Earth in the visible and infrared ranges.

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