Institute’s history - Institute of Radio Astronomy of NASU

History

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   history-1The Institute of Radio Astronomy was created in two phases. At the first one, on April 1, 1980, in pursuance of the UkrSSR AS Presidium Decision No. 135 of 26.03.80, the independent Sector of radio astronomy (soon after renamed into Department) was created at the Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics of the UkrSSR AS (IRE UkrSSR AS).

   L. M. Lytvynenko, Full Doctor (Phys.& Maths), Scientific Deputy Director, was appointed Head of Sector of radio astronomy.

The Sector of radio astronomy was created in view of the necessity to concentrate the efforts of scientists and specialists on the researches at decameter wavelengths (in which by then, a number of basic results of world importance had been obtained) and on utilization of new frequency bands in radio astronomy in compliance with the UkrSSR AS Presidium Decision No. 367 of 19.09.79 “On the researches in radio astronomy and their expected future development”.

Alongside with the traditional radio astronomy departments, the Sector of radio astronomy included those departments successful in design and development of various centimeter and millimeter wavelengths equipment (highly sensitive receivers, powerful pulse transmitters, antennas, radar and radiometric systems, etc.), as well as in radiowave propagation in different media (near land and sea surfaces, in troposphere and ionosphere). The measures taken gave birth to hopes for fast and successful development of all-wavelength radio astronomy in Ukraine.

The following main research activity directions were specified for the Sector of radio astronomy:

-    radio astronomy researches at decameter and millimeter wavelengths and creation of respective technical devices,

-    development of exoatmospheric (space) radar astronomy,

-    creation of communication systems for national economy using the radio astronomy methods.

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Structurally, the Sector of radio astronomy consisted of 8 research departments including 5 laboratories and 15 research groups. Totally, the number of employees made 214 persons, among them 8 Full Doctors and 23 Ph.Ds of sciences. In addition to scientific subdivisions, the Sector included those belonging to research, managerial and economic activities.

 

Department, Laboratory, Group

Head

Department of decameter radio astronomy (No. 211)

Laboratory of theoretical radio astronomy, Research group of computers

S. Y. Braude

V. M. Kontorovych

S. L. Rashkovskiy

Department of decameter radio telescopes and interferometers (No. 212)

Research group of radio equipment design

Research group of the URAN-1 interferometry researches

Research group of the UTR-2 radio telescope operation and radio-astronomy measurements

A. V. Megn

N. A. Miroshnychenko

V. V. Krymkin

UTR-2 department (No. 213)

Research group of development, design and construction

E. P. Konovalenko

V. S. Shyper

Antenna system problems branch department (USSR Ministry of Lines of Communication and Communications and UkrSSR AS) (No. 214)

Laboratory of transmit-receive antenna systems

Research group of design and development of antenna systems

Laboratory of transmit-receive and non-standard control equipment

Research group of control equipment design

A. V. Antonov

Y. M. Herasimov

A. A. Hrydin

V. S. Arkhypov

V. N. Blinov

Department of applied electrodynamics (No. 215)

Research group of applied electrodynamics

Research group of software support

L. M. Lytvynenko

S. L. Prosvirnin

I. I. Reznyk

Theoretical department of ionospheric radiowave propagation (No. 216)

Nonstructural laboratory

Research group of ELF-band investigation

P. V. Bliokh

V. H. Bezrodny

B. V. Lazebny

Department of radiometric and measuring equipment (No. 217)

Research group of laboratory automation

S. A. Peskovatsky

Interbranch department of USSR Ministry of General Engineering and UkrSSR AS и АН УССР (No. 218)

Laboratory of range researches

Research group of transmitting apparatus

Research group of information processing

Research group of radio electronic equipment

V. P. Churylov

L. I. Sharapov

V. D. Naumenko

A. G. Yarovy

N. F. Dakhov

 

During 1980-1985, the scientists and specialists of the Department of radio astronomy had carried out the R&Ds in 34 research engineering projects, 9 of those – planned as major works under the tasks of the USSR decision-making authorities. Out of the total number of employees (214 persons), 102 persons were occupied in fulfillment of contract works, whereas the contract work financing exceeded by 1.5 times the amount of state budget financing allotted to the Department by the Academy of Sciences.

In accomplishment of research engineering tasks, a number of new fundamental and applied results had been obtained at decameter radio astronomy, astrophysics, in the field of radiowave propagation in atmosphere and near space, as well as some mathematical methods in solution of diffraction problems of electrodynamics had been developed. Microwave radar and radiometric systems were created for remote sensing of the environment, the receivers and amplifiers of unique sensitivity and low noise designed for the needs of millimeter radio astronomy.

In compliance with the UkrSSR Council of Ministers Decree No. 660-р of November 18, 1985 and the UkrSSR AS Presidium Decision No. 437 of 29.11.85, the Institute of Radio Astronomy of the UkrSSR AS was established (being an organic part of the UkrSSR AS Division of Physics and Astronomy) on basis of the Department of radio astronomy as a directing agency in radio astronomy in Ukraine.

During creation of the Institute, the structural changes did not practically touch the departments belonging to the Division (the department numbering became two-valued), though additionally, on basis of the Department of space physics and the GAO UkrSSR AS Odesa division, the Kyiv Division of radio-interferometry researches (headed by V. L. Kulchitski) was created.

In view of importance of development of radio astronomy equipment for decameter and microwave wavelengths (with the purpose to create the required production basis), on 01.04.86, in pursuance of the Presidium Bureau Decision No. 1016 of 21.02.86, the experimental production area was created at the Institute on the basis of two production sectors of the IRE UkrSSR AS Department of engineering technology (Kharkiv) and Odesa sector of the GAO UkrSSR AS research production area.

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B. E. Paton, UkrSSR AS President introduces L. M. Lytvynenko as IRA Director to IRA’s Academic Council. 1986.  

During the first years of making the Institute, the decameter radio-astronomy investigations were substantially extended and intensified. The Institute became the leading research one in the UkrSSR AS integrated R&D program “Radio-astronomy research of space radiation at decameter wavelengths” (URAN) aimed at creation a unique system of decameter radio telescopes-interferometers around the UTR-2 base telescope:

URAN-1 (Gotvald, Kharkiv Region, IRA UkrSSR AS),

URAN-2 (Poltava, PGO UkrSSR AS),

URAN-3 (Shatsk, Volyn Region, PMI UkrSSR AS),

URAN-4 (Mayaky, Odesa Region, IRA UkrSSR AS).

By the joint Order of the UkrSSR AS Presidium and the UkrSSR Ministry of higher and secondary specialized education of 12-19 October, 1988, the Institute was assigned as a leading research organization in Ukraine in radiophysical researches of the ionosphere.

New directions in investigating deep and near space had been developing. The UkrSSR AS Presidium established a fact of a high level of scientific achievements of the Institute in the decameter wavelength astronomy, their priority in the world radio astronomy and great importance for development of basic and applied researches.

At the millimeter wavelengths, the preference was given to the R&D efforts aimed at design and fabrication of tools and instrument resources capable of performing radio-astronomy observations.

Along with these efforts, the Institute carried out multiple contract research engineering works, mainly in pursuance of the solution of decision-making authorities. The number of contract research engineering works made about half the total number of research works, and their financing – until 1990 – was twice as large as the amount of budgetary financing allotted for the Institute by the UkrSSR Academy of Sciences.

The subject-matter orientation of contract works corresponded to the main priority lines of the Institute researches (in particular, to investigating the Earth and planets with the methods of remote sensing). This had contributed to development of basic researches and was just a mode of application of the results of such researches to national economy.

In order to improve the Institute structure, on 01.10.1989, the following 3 departments were established for optimum development of its perspective scientific directions within its structure divisions:

-    Department of computational mathematics (No. 20, headed by S. L. Prosvirnin) on basis of Group of computational mathematics, Department of applied electrodynamics (No. 15);

-    Department of microwave tubes (No. 21, headed by D. M. Vavriv) on basis of Group of microwave tubes, Department of applied electrodynamics (No. 15) and Department of radio-astronomy equipment (No. 18);

-    Department of radio engineering systems (No. 19, headed by L. I. Sharapov) on basis of a subdivision of Department No. 18.

For the period of 1991-1995, in the area of decameter wavelength radio astronomy, the completion of construction of the URAN radio interferometers system (with bases 42.3, 151.9, 613.1, and 1946.2 km), as well as making with the said instruments regular observations of various space radio sources - quasars, radio galaxies, supernova remnants, etc., had been projected.

In the area of millimeter wavelength radio astronomy, the plan was formulated to construct the RTM-16 radio telescope with the 16-m dia. main dish whose surface quality would secure high antenna efficiency in the short-wave region of millimeter wavelengths. Also, highly sensitive receivers for the RTM-16 were planned to be developed.

Radar and radiometric systems developed at the Institute for environmental monitoring within millimeter wavelengths were scheduled for updating which was aimed at enhancement of their sensitivity, stability in operation and reliability. In order to further develop one of the Institute’s major research directions, new methods of near-Earth space diagnostics had been also planned for development to be used in observational radio astronomy, radio communication, broadcasting and environmental monitoring. In 1993, for this task accomplishment, the R&D Department of ionosphere radio wave propagation (No. 22, headed by Y. M. Yampolski) was established on basis of a subdivision of Department No. 16.

The whole system of the URAN decameter wavelength radio interferometers was entirely constructed in 1993.

The same year, the Ukraine AS Presidium approved the design estimates for the RTM-16 radio telescope construction. Unfortunately, that project had failed.

In connection with the USSR collapse, followed by economic recession and crisis, the budgetary financing of research engineering projects was greatly reduced, while the financing of contract works was several times reduced, too. The science was financed by the state from the budget remnant, whereas the laws as regards payment of men, technicians and workers of science were broken, and the salaries were delayed.

Under the circumstances, following the NASU Presidium Decision No. 326 of 06.12.1995 “On the urgent measures as for reorganization of structure and staffs of NASU institutions”, the Institute had to take unpopular measures of liquidation of some scientific departments and redundancy.

Since 01.07.96, the Institute had faced dissolution of experimental production, Department of radio engineering systems (No. 19), Kyiv branch of IRA NASU and Department No. 14, as well as Technical information division. The Institute’s staff was reduced by 42 persons, whereas some part of researchers, administration and auxiliary services were put on half-time treatment until appearance of some additional projects.

To the end of “the hard 90-th”, the financial situation was improved a little – there appeared an additional project under the agreements with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (MESU) and Antarctic center, some foreign Grants and contracts. The Institute became a participant of the National Space Program of Ukraine, the UTR-2 radio telescope and the URAN system of interferometers were listed among the scientific objects being the national patrimony of Ukraine. The objects from this list received some additional financial support. In this connection, the Institute structure was subjected to some changes.

In 1998, together with the National Space Agency, the Laboratory of ground-space researches was established, whereas in 2000, together with the CrAO MESU and GAO NASU – the Laboratory of new technologies in radio astronomy researches were established, too. The Experimental department of microwave high technologies (No. 14) was created to implement the R&D under the contracts with foreign companies.

Further changes in the Institute’s structure took place after the approval by the NASU Presidium (Decision No. 357 of 01.04.06) of the purpose-oriented program “UTR-2 radio telescope reequipment and advanced development of decameter wavelength radio astronomy in Ukraine”, providing for the construction of the low-frequency radio telescope of new generation – the Giant Ukrainian Radio Telescope. To meet the purposes of increasing the efficiency of control and coordination of researches in the field of low-frequency radio astronomy and interferometry within the Institute structure, in March 2007, on basis of the Department of decameter radio astronomy and the Department of astrophysics and S. Braude Radio Astronomy Observatory, the Department of low-frequency radio astronomy was established (without the rights of legal person), Professor Konovalenko O. O., Scientific Deputy Director, being Head of Department. On March 23, 2009, the structure of the Department of low-frequency radio astronomy was extended by establishing the Department of radio astronomy equipment and methods of observations (No. 15), I. S. Falkovych, Head of Department. The Department of applied electrodynamics was broken up.

 

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