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Russia launches major new telescope into space

MOSCOW — Russia’s space agency says a Russian Proton-M rocket has successfully delivered a cutting-edge space telescope into orbit after days of launch delays.

Roscosmos said the telescope, named Spektr-RG, was delivered into a parking orbit before a final burn Saturday that kicked the spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit and on to its final destination: the L2 Lagrange point.

Lagrange points are unique positions in the solar system where objects can maintain their position relative to the sun and the planets that orbit it.

Located 1.5 million kilometers (0.93 million miles) from Earth, L2 is particularly ideal for telescopes such as Spektr-RG. If all goes well, it will arrive at its designated position in three months.

If Spektr-RG reaches L2 successfully, it will be the first Russian spacecraft to operate beyond Earth’s orbit since the Soviet era.

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