RadioAstron(ray-dee-oh-ass -tron, rad-ee-) An international collaborative mission to launch a 10-meter diameter radio telescope into an elliptical orbit (apogee 80 000 km, period 28 hours) around the Earth. The dish is made from 27 carbon-fiber petals with a surface accuracy of 0.5 mm. RadioAstron is designed to carry out VLBI observations in conjunction with ground-based telescopes, operating at wavelengths of 1.35, 6, 18 and 92 cm with an angular resolution of up to 30 milliarcseconds.
Initiated in the former Soviet Union, the project now has support from more than 20 countries and is planned for launch around 2003.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006