Libmonster ID: RU-17232

The flying laboratory "Optik", designed to scan air space and water bodies, was created in Novosibirsk on the basis of Tu-134 plane. This laboratory will perform remote probing of the atmosphere, including gases, suspended matters, clouds, industrial wastes, and products of accidents. "There are no analogs of this laboratory in Russia, it is in the list of unique installations of the RF Ministry of Education and Science; its basic characteristics are the same as in the best American plants", said Boris Belan, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), supervisor of the project, deputy director of the RAS SB Institute of Atmosphere Optics named after V. Zuev (Tomsk), in his interview to the Science in Siberia newspaper.

According to the scientist, the flight vehicle was equipped just in two months thanks to a close cooperation between the customer and the State Scientific Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vektor (Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Region), Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion, RAS SB, and Siberian Research Institute of Aviation named after S. Chaplygin (Novosibirsk). Employees of the Chaplygin Institute developed the most complex modules of airtight machines--air scoops--and manufactured them. The production process involved also the RAS SB Experimental Plant (Novosibirsk), manufacturing metal structures and nonstandard equipment on the basis of specifications provided by the customer. The equipment of the plane was carried out at the expense of the RAS Siberian Branch (1.7 mln. rubles) for many years funding field projects implemented by the Institute of Atmosphere Optics named after V. Zuev, which made it possible to support and keep working highly qualified flight personnel in the difficult 1990s and at present attract new specialists. However, future operation expenses will be paid by our foreign partners from France and Japan, who signed relevant contracts with scientists from Tomsk.

As Belan explained, "Optik" laboratory is composed of a number of complexes: meteorological, aerosol (photo-electric meter, diffusion battery, nephelometer--a device for measuring turbidity level of liquids and gases based on the intensity of light dispersion--including thermo- and hygrooptic instruments, filtration unit), gas analytical, spectrophotoradiometrical and navigation complexes, as well as thermal imaging device, onboard registration system, Makrel-2 light radar. These instruments will enable scientists to assess quality of atmospheric air and pollution of the underlying surface, including water surface (to measure density and thickness of the film on water bodies, make maps of water turbidity in the upper 30-m layer), as well as study forest areas.

According to Belan, similar research works, including international programs, were carried out by the Institute of Atmosphere Optics named after V. Zuev on the basis of the laboratory "Optik-E" installed on board An-30 plane from 1997. Then, within the framework of the International Associated Program "Large-Scale Air Observations of the Siberian Region YAKAEROSIB", Russian and French experts studied hothouse and atmosphere oxidizing gases in the territory from Novosibirsk to Yakutsk and made a number of flights in different seasons, which helped determine the role of Siberia in the global climatic changes.

Unfortunately, national consumers underestimated a unique potential of "Optik-E" laboratory. Belan named only three projects implemented in 2005-2011 ordered by Russian institutions: tracing of residues of the fuel of the third stage of Proton booster after it fell near Teletskoye Lake (Republic of Altai), complex assessment of the atmosphere in the air basin of Norilsk industrial region, and probing of air composition in the resort area of the Black Sea.

It is not by chance that the supervisor of the project spoke for a full scale use of the supermodern "Optik" laboratory by the RF Ministry of Emergency Situations to control aftereffects of natural disasters, including fires, to take photos of breakdown objects, and determine compo-

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sition and volume of hazardous emissions; by fishers to locate fish shoals and plankton areas; by oil and gas getters--to control oil fields and leakages; by workers of municipal economy to make thermal vision surveying of the territory measurements of air pollution level and prognosis of propagation of admixtures.

Today, the Arctic regions and the state of their atmosphere are in the center of attention of many specialists. According to Belan, "Optic" laboratory may play a significant role in ensuring ecological safety of this region.

The RAS SB Institute of Atmosphere Optics named after V. Zuev is planning to constantly improve its instrument base on liners. "This year, we will instal a unique high-precision gas analyzer of carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor. Next year, we are planning to install a microlidar CIMMEL, and a mass-spectrometer and a spectrophotometer, if we have enough funds to purchase them", Belan said.

Ye. Pustolyakova, "A Unique... Flying Laboratory", "Science in Siberia " newspaper, No. 18, 2012


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FLYING LABORATORY "OPTIK" // Moscow: Russian Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.RU). Updated: 13.10.2021. URL: https://libmonster.ru/m/articles/view/FLYING-LABORATORY-OPTIK (date of access: 22.10.2021).

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