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Spacecraft: Tsiklon.

Tsiklon, the first prototype Soviet navigation satellite system, was designed by Reshetnev; the navigation and control system was by NII Radiopribor (Ivanov, Chief Designer, L I Gusev, Director); with communications systems by MNIIRS MPSS (Nesvist). The Kosmos-3M launch vehicle was used.

The requirement for such a system was first identified in the late 1950's in order to provide Soviet ballistic missile submarines with accurate position fixes so that acceptable submarine-launched ballistic missile accuracy could be achieved. The TTZ specification was completed by the TsYKOS MO (Space Forces) and the VMF (Soviet Navy). In 1962 research institute NII-695 completed the draft project for a Tsiklon experimental satellite. It was to use the Doppler navigation method and be placed in 800 to 1000 km altitude orbits. Development of the satellite was given to Reshetnev and experimental flights began in 1967 in order to develop a system meeting the required tactical and operational characteristics.


Spacecraft: Strela-2.

Prototype of the large satellite element of the Strela system, which consisted of a large constellation of medium orbit store-dump satellites that provided survivable communictions for Soviet military and intelligence forces. The system was developed experimentally in the 1960's, with flight tests of 3 of the Strela-2 model from 1965 to 1968. The production Strela-2M was flown beginning in 1970.


Spacecraft: Sfera.

The Sfera geodetic system covered a broad development for solving problems in geodetics, continental drift, and precise location of cartographic points. The spacecraft was equipped with measurement and signalling apparatus, providing assistance in measuring astronomical-geodetic points of military topographical research for the Red Army General Staff. The satellite allowed improved accuracy for long range weapons. Reshetnev was the Chief Designer. Flight tests were from 1968 to 1972. Series flights were from 1973 to 1980. The Kosmos 3M launcher was used. Colonel Ye S Shchapov was in charge of Sfera development. Sfera used the basic KAUR-1 bus, consisting of a 2.035 m diameter cylindrical spacecraft body, with solar cells and radiators of the thermostatic temperature regulating system mounted on the exterior. Orientation was by a single-axis magneto-gravitational (gravity gradient boom) passive system. The hermetically sealed compartment had the equipment mounted in cruciform bays, with the chemical batteries protecting the radio and guidance equipment mounted at the centre.


Spacecraft: Altitude Sounder.

Used the KAUR-1 bus, which consisted of a 2.035 m diameter cylindrical spacecraft body, with solar cells and radiators of the thermostatic temperature regulating system mounted on the exterior. The hermetically sealed compartment had the equipment mounted in cruciform bays, with the chemical batteries protecting the radio and guidance equipment mounted at the centre.Unlike other spacecraft using this bus, The spacecraft was used on suborbital 'altitude sounder' missions and was equipped with an active orientation system.


Spacecraft: Ionosfernaya.

Ionospheric studies. Used the basic KAUR-1 bus, consisting of a 2.035 m diameter cylindrical spacecraft body, with solar cells and radiators of the thermostatic temperature regulating system mounted on the exterior. Orientation was by a single-axis magneto-gravitational (gravity gradient boom) passive system. The hermetically sealed compartment had the equipment mounted in cruciform bays, with the chemical batteries protecting the radio and guidance equipment mounted at the centre.


Spacecraft: Strela-2M.

The Strela communications system consisted of a large constellation of medium orbit store-dump satellites that provided survivable communications for Soviet military and intelligence forces. The larger Strela-2M model provided encrypted communications for theatre military forces. Strela-2M's were launched one at a time by Kosmos 3M launch vehicles into orbits at 800 km altitude in three orbital planes inclined 74 degrees to the equator and spaced 120 degrees apart.

The system was developed experimentally in the 1960's, with flight tests from 1965. Reshetnev was the chief designer in collaboration with the KB Krasnoyarsk Radio-Technical Factory (V G Taranenko) and MNIIRS MPSS (Yu S Bikov). The Strela-2M used the communications satellite bus KAUR-1. Flight tests of the operational system began in 1970. Production system work began in 1972. In 1974 the Strela 2M system was accepted by the military. In the period 1970 to 1994 a total of 59 Strela-2M's were launched. The satellites could be monitored in the West by their characteristic continuous wave beacon at 153.660 MHz. There have been no launches since 1994 and the Strela-3 seems to be the only system that will be operated in the future.

Strela-2M used the basic KAUR-1 bus, consisting of a 2.035 m diameter cylindrical spacecraft body, with solar cells and radiators of the thermostatic temperature regulating system mounted on the exterior. Orientation was by a single-axis magneto-gravitational (gravity gradient boom) passive system. The hermetically sealed compartment had the equipment mounted in cruciform bays, with the chemical batteries protecting the radio and guidance equipment mounted at the centre.


Spacecraft: Parus.

Military navigation satellite, operational successor to Tsiklon, also designated Tsiklon-B. Flight trials began in 1974 and the system was accepted into military service in 1976. Tsiklon was designed by Reshetnev; the navigation and control system was by NII Radiopribor (Ivanov, Chief Designer, L I Gusev, Director); with communications systems by MNIIRS MPSS (Nesvist). The Kosmos-3M launch vehicle was used. Experimental flights began in 1967 in order to develop a system meeting the required tactical and operational characteristics. Development was protracted due to the difficulty in software development in achieving acceptable positional accuracy levels. The Tsiklon-B operational system provided navigation information and store-dump radio communications for Soviet naval forces and ballistic missile submarines. Flight tests of the Parus operational satellite did not begin until 1974 and the system was finally accepted into military service in 1976.

Parus used the basic KAUR-1 bus, consisting of a 2.035 m diameter cylindrical spacecraft body, with solar cells and radiators of the thermostatic temperature regulating system mounted on the exterior. Orientation was by a single-axis magneto-gravitational (gravity gradient boom) passive system. The hermetically sealed compartment had the equipment mounted in cruciform bays, with the chemical batteries protecting the radio and guidance equipment mounted at the centre.


Spacecraft: Geo-IK.

This second generation geodetic system began development in the second half of the 1970's. Flight trials began in 1981. GEO-IK was the final KAUR-1 bus spacecraft with 'wrapped' panels on a cylindrical body. While it used the standard pressurized instrument container and gravity-gradient single-axis passive orientation system, it was much heavier than earlier spacecraft, with more elaborate systems and a deployable outer sheath of solar cells. It provided five ways for determining satellites position:

  • Doppler system working at 150 and 400 MHz and providing 3 cm accuracy
  • High intensity lights flashing 3 times per second, allowing precise location by ground observatories
  • Radio transponder working at 5.7/3.4 GHz and providing 5 m accuracy
  • Laser reflectors providing 1.5 m accuracy
  • Radar altimeter working at 9.4 GHz providing 5 m altitude accuracy. This was equipped with a separate autonomous system for accurate pointing.

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    Last update 28 March 2001.
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