Orion (spacecraft instrument)

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Orion was a series of two instruments flown aboard manned Soviet spacecraft during the 1970s. The instruments were space observatories used to conduct ultraviolet spectroscopy of stars.

Orion 1[edit]

The Orion 1 space astrophysical observatory was installed in the orbital station Salyut 1. It was designed by Grigor Gurzadyan of Byurakan Observatory in Armenia. It was operated in June 1971 by crew member Viktor Patsayev, who thus became the first man to operate a telescope outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Spectrograms of stars Vega and beta Centauri between wavelengths 2000 and 3800 Å have been obtained.[1]


  • UV-telescope:
  • Optical system: Mersenn
  • Spectrograph: Wadsworth
  • Diameter of primary mirror: 280 mm
  • Focal length: 1400 mm
  • Spectral range: 2000–3800 Å
  • Spectral resolution at wavelength 2600 Å: 5 Å
  • Film: UFSh 4, width 16 mm, range of sensitivity: 4000–2500 Å, resolution better 130 lines/mm
  • Cartridge capacity: 12m
  • Stabilization: two-stage, inertial
  • First stage: three-axis inertial stabilization of station Salyut 1;
  • Fine guidance: via a star with accuracy 15 arcsec on each axes.
  • Star sensor: of semi-disk (diameter of input: 70 mm; focal length: 450 mm), limiting stellar magnitude 5m.
  • Mass: 170 kg

Orion 2[edit]

Orion 2 was installed onboard Soyuz 13 in December 1973, a spacecraft modified to become the first manned space observatory. The observatory was operated by crew member Valentin Lebedev. The designer of the observatory was Grigor Gurzadyan, then at Garni Space Astronomy Laboratory in Armenia. Ultraviolet spectrograms of thousands of stars to as faint as 13th stellar magnitude were obtained by a wide-angle meniscus telescope.[2] The first satellite UV spectrogram of a planetary nebula (IC 2149) was obtained, revealing spectral lines of aluminum and titanium - elements not previously observed in planetary nebulae. Two-photon emission in that planetary nebula and a remarkable star cluster in Auriga were also discovered.[3]


  • Telescope: meniscus, Cassegrain (-Maksutov) system with an objective prism
  • Primary mirror: 300 mm
  • Focal length: 1000 mm
  • Field of view: 5°
  • Registration of spectrograms: film KODAK 103UV, diameter: 110 mm
  • Spectral resolution: 8-29 Å at 2000-3000 Å
  • Two star sensor sets: each containing a two-coordinate star sensor coaxial to telescope and one-coordinate one, in 45° to telescope axis.
  • Two additional sidereal spectrographs.
  • Three-axes guidance system accuracy: better than 5 arcsec on two cross-sectional axes of telescope (via star А), and better than 30 arcsec at optical axis (star B)
  • Star sensors: input apertures: 80 and 60 mm; focal lengths: 500 and 240 mm; limiting stellar magnitudes: 3.5 and 3.0 m.
  • Mass: 240 kg (telescope: 205 kg)
  • Mass returned to Earth (cartridges): 4.3 kg


  1. ^ Gurzadyan, G.A; Ohanesyan, J.B. (1972). "Observed Energy Distribution of alpha Lyra and beta Cen at 2000-3800 Å". Nature 239: 90. doi:10.1038/239090a0. 
  2. ^ Gurzadyan, G.A. (1974). "Ultraviolet spectra of Capella". Nature 250: 204–205. doi:10.1038/250204a0. 
  3. ^ Gurzadyan, G.A. (1976). "Two-photon emission in planetary nebula IC 2149". Astronomical Society of the Pacific Publications 88: 891. Bibcode:1976PASP...88..891G. doi:10.1086/130041. 
Orion 1 bibliography
  • Gurzadyan, G.A; Ohanesyan, J.B. (1972). "Observed Energy Distribution of alpha Lyra and beta Cen at 2000-3800 Å". Nature 239: 90. doi:10.1038/239090a0. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1972). "A Magnesium Feature in Ultraviolet Stellar Spectra". Sky & Telescope 43: 350. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A.; Ohanesyan, J.B. (1972). "Spectrograms of alpha Lira and beta Cen in the region of 2000-3800A". Space Science Reviews 13: 647. 
  • Gurzadyan, G. A.; Ohanesyan, J. B. (1972). "The Use of Synchrotron Radiation in the Energy Calibration of Astronomical Apparatus". Space Science Reviews 13: 642–646. doi:10.1007/bf00213497. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A., 1972 On One Principle of Operation of Orbital Observatory by a Cosmonaut, Commun. Byurakan Obs, vol.XLV, p. 5.
  • Gurzadyan, G.A., Harutyunian, E.A., 1972 Orbital Astrophysical Observatory Orion, Commun. Byurakan Obs., vol.XLV, p. 12.
  • Gurzadyan, G. A.; Ohanesyan, J. B. (1972). "Ultraviolet absorption lines in the spectrum of Vega". Astron. & Astrophys 20: 321. 
  • Gurzadyan, G. A. (1973). "1977 Space astronomy". Vestnik Akad. Nauk SSSR 6: 66–74. 
  • Oberg, J. "Notes on Soviet space astronomy". Sky and Telescope 53: 92. 
Orion 2 bibliography
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1974). "Ultraviolet spectra of Capella". Nature 250: 204–205. doi:10.1038/250204a0. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1974). "On the Possibility of Spectral Classification of Stars by their Ultraviolet Spectrograms". Astron. & Astrophys 35: 493. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1974). "A Group of Ultraviolet Stars in Auriga". The Observatory 94: 293. 
  • Gurzadyan, G. A. (1974). "An interesting ultraviolet star discovered by Orion-2". Astrophysics 10: 236–240. doi:10.1007/bf01001556. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1975). "Orion-2: First Scientific Results". Space Science Reviews 18: 95–139. doi:10.1007/bf00350198. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A.; Rustambekova, S.S. (1975). "Silicon-rich stellar envelope?". Nature 254: 311–312. doi:10.1038/254311a0. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1975). "Ultraviolet Chromospheric Lines in the Spectra of Late-Type Stars". Monthly Not. Royal Astron. Soc. 172: 617–621. doi:10.1093/mnras/172.3.617. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1975). "Ultraviolet Spectrophotometry of the Emission Star SAO 0400183". Astron. & Astrophys 39: 213. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1975). "The Ultraviolet Spectrum of Planetary Nebula IC 2149". Monthly Not. Royal Astron. Soc 172: 249. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1975). "Ultraviolet Continuous spectra of gamma Cassiopea". Astron. & Astrophys 40: 447–450. 
  • Gurzadyan, G. A. (1975). "Orion 2: first scientific results". Vestnik Akad. Nauk SSSR 1: 13–24. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1976). "Two-photon emission in planetary nebula IC 2149". Astronomical Society of the Pacific Publications 88: 891. Bibcode:1976PASP...88..891G. doi:10.1086/130041. 
  • Gurzadyan, G.A.; Jarakyan, A.L.; Krmoyan, M.N.; Kashin, A.L.; Loretsyan, G.M.; Ohanesyan, J.B. (1976). "Space astrophysical observatory Orion-2". Astrophysics and Space Science 40: 393–446. Bibcode:1976Ap&SS..40..393G. doi:10.1007/BF00640454. 
  • Gurzadyan, G. A. (1977). "A high-power orbital telescope: What a telescope with a three-meter mirror carried into space can give to science". Vestnik Akad. Nauk SSSR 12: 80–90. 
  • Gurzadyan, G. A., Ultraviolet observations of planetary nebulae, Planetary nebulae. Observations and theory, Proc. IAU Symp.76, Ed.Y.Terzian, p. 79, Dordrecht, D.Reidel Publ., 1978.
  • Gurzadyan, G.A. (1979). "Ultraviolet Spectra of Planetary Nebulae". Vistas in Astronomy 23: 45–67. doi:10.1016/0083-6656(79)90007-2. 
  • Ambartsumian V.A. (ed) Gurzadyan, G.A.; Raushenbach, B.V.; Feoktistov, K.P.; Klimuk, P.I.; Lebedev, V.V.; Maksimenko, A.P.; Gorshkov, K.A.; Savchenko, S.A.; Baryshnikov, G.K.; Pachomov, A.I.; Antonov, V.V.; Kashin, A.L.; Loretsian, G.M.; Gasparyan, O.N.; Chabrov, G.I.; Ohanesian, J.B.; Tsybin, S.P.; Rustambekova, S.S.; Epremian, R.A. Observatory in space "SOYUZ-13"-"ORION-2" . "Mashinostroenie" Publ, Moscow, 1984 (monograph, in Russian).
  • Gurzadyan G.A, Ohanesyan, J.B., Rustambekova, S.S. & Epremian, R.A., Catalogue of 900 Faint Star Ultraviolet Spectra, Publ. Armenian Acad. Sci, Yerevan, 1985.
  • Oberg, J (1977). "Notes on Soviet space astronomy". Sky & Telescope 53: 92. 
  • Abt, H.A. (1978). "Spectral types in Gurzadyan's clustering in Auriga". Astronomical Society of the Pacific Publications 90: 555. Bibcode:1978PASP...90..555A. doi:10.1086/130383. 
  • Furniss, T., Manned Spaceflight Log, Jane's, London, 1986.
  • Davies, J. K., Astronomy from Space, PRAXIS Publishing, Chichester, 2002.

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