Center of space researches and technologies
Russia is one of the leaders in the study and use of outer space using the latest astronomical and surveying technologies. Satellite navigation, meteor safety of the space flights, satellites tracking on the orbits, satellite planetary geodesy are based on the modern ground observations and technology scanning of the celestial sphere witch are centered in the astronomical observatories. In order to keep Russia among the leaders in space researches, it is necessary to develop high-tech ground stations and points of astronomical and geodetic observations.
Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University (KFU) is one of the leading Russian and world centers in astronomy and space geodesy field, both in training and in the basic and applied researches. At different times, its graduates have initiated the creation of scientific and educational centers in this direction and led some large creative teams. Scientific data, which were obtained by Kazan astronomer, were used in the preparation of launching the spacecrafts to the Moon and Mars; the leading scientific schools on the astrophysics of stellar atmospheres field and the space astrometry and meteor studies field have been established in Kazan.
The development of the Kazan astronomy school inseparably linked with the first astronomy department in Russia, which celebrated its 200-year anniversary, and established on the basis of the Endelhardt Astronomical Observatory (EAO) in the Kazan University, which has been a unique scientific and educational center of national and international importance, for a period of 112-year history. It should be noted that the role of radio-physical methods of research are growing; the scientists of the University were among the initiators of this trend in the Soviet Union; the University is one of the country’s leading centers for training and technological development in this field. Hence, an integrated development project of the research and education center of the space technologies on the base of the Engelhardt Astronomical Observatory is one of the key components of the development program of the Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University in 2010-2019; the aim is to develop KFU as a new type of university, which corresponds to the best international standards of education and research activities.
The project stipulates the formation and development two radio-physical polygons which are adjacent to the observatory’s territory, using the available resources of the observatory and astronomy, radio physics, radio astronomy, radio electronics departments. The aim of this project is the creation of a unique educational-scientific, scientific and technological world-class complex in the study of near and far space. Educational activities in the field of training and retraining, educational-industrial and scientific training of students and graduate students of the Kazan University and other educational and scientific institutions of Russia, the near and far abroad will be implemented on the basis of the EAO. There are the following training areas:
- geodesy and remote sensing,
- radio physics.
There are departments for the realization of scientific and scientific-technological programs:
The practice base in the astronomy, terrestrial and satellite geodesy, topography, radio physics and radio astronomy field will be main component.
The activities of all departments will be coordinated in a single center of near and far space study.
Research and Educational Center on the basis of the Astronomical Observatory will be the first world’s educational-academic complex, which will combine the existing Astronomical Observatory with the modern planetarium. Such approach will allow to add the planetarium operation with real observations, using the existing telescopes, celestial bodies and astronomical phenomena (planets, stars, galaxies and nebulae, comets and asteroids, meteor streams, solar and lunar eclipses, satellites, etc.) and provides with “immersion” of Astropark visitors in a professional environment of the universe knowledge, the expansion and motivation of public’s interest to historical and modern scientific thought.
Metrological polygon, which is used by Russian cosmos for testing the navigational equipment on the data of satellite GLONASS grouping observations, was built at the EAO in 2010 in the limit of inter-regional centre for applied navigation technologies and services, and the polygon of the satellite navigation technologies and services processing.
The creation of the complex of scientific equipments, the Center of near and far space research involves the design and installation of the most accurate high-tech devices which interconnected with it and with each other in scientific and productive terms in addition to the existing observational database of the KFU.
- 13 m radio telescope for radio interferometer with a very long observations bases (VLBI) in conjunction with the Institute of Applied Astronomy RAS;
- Optical telescopes complex with a lens diameter from 0,6 m, CCD photometer and the host of adaptive optics.
- Quantum-optical system “Sazhen TM” for specifying the satellite’s orbit elements and supporting the GLONASS system;
- The system of optical widefield monitoring of the celestial sphere with subsecond temporal resolution “Mini-Mega TORTORA” together with the special Astronomical Observatory of RAS.
The main purposes of 13 m diameter radio telescope installation, which worked to ku-band (146 GHz) are fundamental coordinate temporary software (CTS) the construction and maintenance of the celestial coordinate system (ICRF) and its realization in the form of coordinates catalogs of the extragalactic radio sources, terrestrial coordinate systems and its realization in the form of coordinates catalogs and reference stations’ velocities, determination of the parameters of the orientation of the Earth’s coordinate system relative to the celestial coordinate system and the Earth’s rotation parameters; the construction of the dynamic system of indications and its realization in the form of ephemeris of the Solar system and spacecrafts; the determination of the parameters of the gravitational Earth’s field; the building of a national scale of the coordinated time UTC (SU) and the maintaining it within the prescribed limits in relation to the scale of the Universal Coordinated Time UTC. The aim was set to study the Galaxy (molecular lines, X-ray and gamma sources, and microquasars), active galactic nuclei in the part of the fundamental astrophysical researches. The ground support of the spacecrafts, the work in the single mirror, the work in VLBI network, the inclusion in the Russian and international networks, including ALMA, scanning and maintaining of the spacecrafts (Radioastron, Millimetron, etc.) will be carried out. Antenna installation, in the field of educational problems will pick up the study of fundamental and applied geodesy, astrophysics, microwave technology, cryotechnology, digital technology and digital signal processing on a higher level.
The system of optical widefield monitoring of the celestial sphere “Mini-Mega TORTORA” should provide the detection and investigation fly phenomena with previously unknown location in the near and far space. The main way of getting information is the wide optical monitoring of the celestial sphere with a high temporal resolution. The main task-finding of new and study known non-stationary objects of different nature and localization is implemented in the monitoring process. The continuously updated dynamical picture of the near and far space with subsecond temporal resolution will be obtained for the first time in the world. Robotic multi-channel (9 lenses) optical complex with the visual field of about 900 square degrees and a time resolution of 0,1 seconds will be made for persistent observations. This complex will accumulate information about all the stationary and transient (in time and space) sources of the optical radiation, localized in the celestial hemisphere (20000 sq. grad.) with the glitter up to 17.5 stellar magnitude. The single complex of monitoring and on-line analysis of the observed events which is equipped with appropriate situational IT-center (with the display system, processing and keeping the obtained observational data) will be set up in the EAO on the basis of concerned system of wide-angled monitor (using hard software integration and the modernization of the widefield meniscus telescope AST-452 and the complex of optical telescopes with aperture no less than 0,6 m). Satellite Laser Ranging System «Sazhen-TM» is an important element of the monitoring system. This system will be indispensable support of VLBI antenna accuracy. Today, such antenna complex – laser rangefinder becomes the daily practice of satellite monitoring.
The Planetarium will be the main element of the educational components of the center for the near and far space study. Today, there are more than 2500 planetariums including 1200 in the USA, 540 – in Europe, 400 – in Japan (today there is no planetarium which combined with the existing astronomical observatories, so it limits their effectiveness). Russia is appreciably behind of developed countries on these parameters. Today, there are only 32 planetariums in Russia (all these planetariums are located within the city). Most of them are technically and morally outdated facilities. There are some attempts to modernize the planetarium’s network (Moscow and Kaluga planetariums were reconstructed, the modern planetarium was built in Yaroslavl for the last two years), but they are not systematic.
The complex of future Kazan planetarium consists of the planetarium and Astropark. The creation of the first world planetarium with Astropark technologically, methodologically and geographically integrated with the existing world-class astronomical observatory at the EAO will promote the development of a new qualitative level of Kazan astronomy. The planetarium will show: the position and motion of stars and planets at any latitude and in any time in past or present, or future; astral sky for an imaginary observer on the Moon, Mars, Venus; audio-visual simulation of the space flight; travelling to other planets, etc. in fact, it is a high-tech interactive experimental educational laboratory which makes a significant contribution to the development of innovative capacity, training and education.
Astropark territory which is located around the planetarium will be a park and architectural complex consisting of alleys system, small architectural forms, decorative sculptures and recreation areas with individual landscape beautification.
The project will also create an industrial complex to accommodate up to 400 people (students, graduates, trainees, teachers and researchers) which according to modern international standard will provide the accommodation, training sessions, research activities, food and rest.
Today the development of astronomy and space geodesy in Kazan goes to the new qualitative level and in the future we expect a lot of important discoveries.