YEREVAN, February 8. / ARKA /. Viktor Krivopuskov, head of Rossotrudnichestvo office in Armenia (Rossotrudnichestvo is a Russian state agency promoting Russia's cultural ties with the rest of the world), said to a news conference today that the modernized Byurakan Observatory in Armenia will start operating at its full l capacity by the end of 2013.
Modernization of the observatory is envisaged by a joint Russian-Armenian agreement. Krivopuskov said at first stage two telescopes of the facility will be upgraded and in terms of some of their parameters they will be the best in the world. Then five small telescopes manufactured in Russia will be installed.
“We hope that the additional equipment that is able to operate in a standalone mode will be put into operation in late spring”, Krivopuskov said, adding that Armenia will be one of the main points of the international system of monitoring space debris and preventing asteroid and comet danger.
Krivopuskov said the initial modernization cost of the facility estimated at 4.5 million euros, is expected to rise significantly.
"We have the money and some of the equipment is manufactured and will soon arrive in Armenia; the other part will arrive in the second and third quarters of this year, “he said.
Mikhail Kardashenko, director general of Russian Project-Technique company said Russian specialists visited Byurakan and saw that it is ready to accept the new equipment.
“The president of the National Academy of Sciences told that the major instruments of the Byurakan Observatory will be ready for our modernization by May", he said, adding that this requires some investment fr om the Armenian side as well.
Kardashenko also said that an agreement was reached on training of Armenian astronomers in Russia wh ere they will operate the same equipment which will be installed at Byurakan.
The Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory was founded in 1946 on Mount Aragats at an altitude of 1400 meters. -0-