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astronautix.com Strela


Spacecraft: Strela-1M.

The Strela communications system consisted of a constellation of medium orbit store-dump satellites that provided survivable communications for Soviet military and intelligence forces. The operational constellation consisted of several dozen Strela-1M and 8 Strela-2M satellites. The small Strela-1M was used for open information only, and received data uploads from military units, with the messages held and then retransmitted to ground stations when the satellite was over Soviet territory. The system was developed experimentally in the 1960's, with flight tests from 1964 to 1965. Reshetnev was the chief designer in collaboration with the KB Krasnoyarsk Radio-Technical Factory (V G Taranenko) and MNIIRS MPSS (Yu S Bikov). Flight tests of the operational system began in 1970. Production system work began in 1972. In 1973 the Strela 1M system was accepted by the military. The Kosmos 3M was the launch vehicle, with eight Strela-1M satellites launched at a time. The eight satellites would be in similar 1500 km altitude orbits with periods varying between 114.5 to 116.0 minutes. . The intentional orbital period difference ensured that the satellites would become randomly spaced about the orbital plane shortly after launch. Strela-1M was replaced by the somewhat larger and more capable Strela-3 beginning in 1985. A total of 360 Strela-1M reached orbit before the satellite was phased out in 1992.


Spacecraft: Strela-1.

Prototype of the small 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 26 of the Strela-1 model from 1964 to 1965. The production Strela-1M was flown beginning in 1970.


Spacecraft: Nadezhda.

From 1982 several Tsikada maritime navigation satellites were equipped with the supplemental COSPAS / SARSAT international space search and rescue system for locating vessels and aircraft in distress search and rescue package. These were designated 'Nadezhda'. From 1995 these satellites were equipped with the Kurs system for better location of air, sea, and ground craft in distress and for transmittal of digital data to the Kurs Centre. These were designated Nadezhda-M. Signals at 150,00 MHz and 400.00 MHz. The spacecraft provided dual use - location of vessels in the Soviet merchant marine and fishing fleet; and work within the international space search and rescue system for locating vessels and aircraft in distress (COSPAS-SARSAT).


Spacecraft: Strela-3.

Store-dump military communications satellite, said to have initially been developed for the GRU. The Strela-3 was heavier and more capable than the Strela-1M, with six launched per Kosmos 3M booster instead of eight. An operational constellation consisted of twelve spacecraft in two orbital planes. Flight trials began in 1985 and the system was accepted into military service in 1990. By 1992 Strela-3 replaced the Strela-1M and after 1994 the Strela-2M in the strategic communicatons role. Six Strelas are put into medium earth orbits with each launch. A total of 118 reached orbit from 1985 to 1998. A commercial version was marketed as the Gonets-D1 in the 1990's. These satellites had a single simultaneous earth-space and space-earth channel. On-board storage was 12 Mbits of data, with a transmission rate of 2.4 kbit/sec.


Spacecraft: Gonets-D1.

Commercial version of GRU Strela-3 military store-dump satellite. Gonets-D1 was to be deployed in a constellation of 12 satellites (2 planes of 6) between 1996 and 1998. Each satellite had a single simultaneous earth-space and space-earth channel. On-board storage was 12 Mbits of data, with a transmission rate of 2.4 kbit/sec. Two preproduction test spacecraft of slightly different configuration called 'Gonets-D' were flown. The constellation was not completed and further funding for an improved commercial version was not obtained.


Spacecraft: Start. Experimental satellite carried on test flight of the Start-1 carrier rocket, a new booster based on SS-25 ICBM.

Spacecraft: Zeya.

The Zeya satellite was used for navigation and geodesy tests from a sun-synchronous orbit. Also known as Mozhaets, the satellite was designed by students of the Mozhaiskiy military space engineering academy and built at NPO-PM. It used the obsolete Strela-1M satellite bus. It was the payload for the first launch from Russia's Svobodniy cosmodrome.


Spacecraft: Gonets.

Planned stage 2 of civilian store-dump communications satellite system would have been deployed in a constellation of 45 satellites (5 planes of 9) between 1999 and 2002. Each satellite would have a capacity of 15 earth-space and 3 space-earth channels. On-board storage was 8 Mbytes of data, with a transmission rate of 1.2 to 64 kbit/sec. Seems to have been abandoned due to lack of commercial interest.


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Last update 28 March 2001.
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