EKS (satellite system)


EKS Kupol
ManufacturerRKK Energia (bus) and
TsNII Kometa (payload.)[1]
Country of originRussia[1]
OperatorKosmicheskie Voyska Rossii (Cosmic Forces, Russia)
ApplicationsEarly warning of missile attack
BusPossibly USP (Victoria)[1]
PowerDeployable solar arrays
EquipmentMilitary early warning system and
a reported secure emergency communications payload
to be used in case of a nuclear war.[1]
On order5
Maiden launchEKS 1 / Tundra-11L,
17 November 2015[2]
Last launchEKS 4 / Tundra-14L,
22 May 2020

EKS (Russian: Единая космическая система, tr. Edinaya Kosmicheskaya Sistema meaning Integrated Cosmos System [3]) Kupol (Russian: Купол meaning Dome[4]) is a developing[2] programme of Russian early warning satellites as a replacement for the US-KMO and US-K satellites of the Oko programme.[5]:7 The satellites are designed to identify any possible future ballistic missile launches, from outer space, and complement early warning radars such as the Voronezh. This gives advance notice of a nuclear attack and would provide information to the A-135 missile defence system which protects Moscow, as well as other Russian missile defense and counterattack resources. Six satellites are planned to be initially orbited.[1] The first of these was launched on 17 November 2015[2] and as of May 2020, there are four in service.[6]


EKS has been designated to detect and track ballistic missiles launched towards Russia or its allies.[7] The systems have been designed as a replacement for the current system of early warning satellites called Oko, which had its first launch in 1972 [8]:36[9] and was described in 2005 as "hopelessly outdated".[10] Oko has two types of satellites: US-KMO are in geosynchronous orbits and have an infrared telescope to identify ballistic missile launches.[11] US-K are in Molniya orbits and are an earlier model with optical telescopes and infrared sensors.[12] The Oko system has two control centres with the main one being Serpukhov-15 outside Moscow.[8]:40[8]:52

Oko is part of the Main Centre for Missile Attack Warning[13] which is under the Space Command (KK) of the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.[14]

In 2014, Kommersant published that the first satellite, of a type named Tundra, would be launched in 2014. According to that report they would operate on highly elliptical orbits. The satellite was not launched in 2014, however.[15] It was eventually launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on 17 November 2015, using a Soyuz 2.1b rocket with a Fregat stage, under the name EKS-1 / Tundra-11L.[2][16] (GRAU designation: 14F142[17]) Until 2020, five more satellites are planned to be orbited.[1]


Information on the new EKS system is scarce but it appears that it was designed by Energia Corp in 1999-2000 and was selected against a proposal from Oko manufacturer NPO Lavochkin.[18] The Russian Ministry of Defence awarded the contract to Energia in 2007 with an expected delivery date of 2008, for a test launch in 2009.[19] In 2009, it was reported to be delayed until late 2011/early 2012.[20] In 2011, the Russian MoD sued Energia for the delay, claiming that a contract extension issued until May 2010 was invalid and asking for 262 million rubles in compensation.[21] According to news reports Energia said that the contract extension was valid and that the problem was with their subcontractors.[21] In addition, they said that the Russian MoD kept changing the specification and demanding things that were beyond the capabilities of the industry.[21] The Russian MoD lost the court case. Energia delivered a satellite in 2009 but as of April 2012 there had not been a test launch.[19]

In April 2012, the minister Alexander Sukhorukov announced that a contract had been signed to manufacture these satellites and that there would be a launch later in 2012.[22] The last satellites of the previous Oko system were Kosmos 2479,[23] launched on 30 March 2012, and Kosmos 2469, launched on 30 September 2010.[24]

The first EKS satellite (Kosmos 2510, EKS-1, Tundra 11L) was eventually launched from Plesetsk on 17 November 2015 using a Soyuz-2.1b rocket[2] and as of May 2020 there are four in service which is the minimum standard strength.[6][25]


Satellite[1] COSPAR international designator NORAD catalog # Orbit Launch Date End Date Estimated Operational Life
Kosmos 2510 (EKS 1) (Tundra 11L) 2015-066A 41032 Molniya[26] 38552 x 1626 km, 63.37° 17 November 2015 Active
Kosmos 2518 (EKS 2) (Tundra 12L) 2017-027A 42719 Molniya[27] 38552 x 1626 km, 63.37° 25 May 2017 Active[28]
Kosmos 2541 (EKS 3) (Tundra 13L) 2019-065A 44552 Molniya[29] 38537 x 1646 km, 63.83° 26 September 2019 Active
Kosmos 2546 (EKS 4) (Tundra 14L) 2020-031A 45608 Molniya[6] 35807 x 1654 km, 63.83° 22 May 2020 Active
Animation of EKS
Equatorial view
Polar view
Earth fixed frame, front view
   Kosmos 2510 ·    Kosmos 2518 ·    Kosmos 2541 ·    Kosmos 2546 ·   Earth


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Gunter's Space Page - Tundra (EKS, 14F142)". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Soyuz 2-1B launches EKS-1 to upgrade Russian Early Warning System". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  3. ^ Hendrickx, Bart (8 February 2021). "EKS: Russia's space-based missile early warning system". The Space Review. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  4. ^ "Российскую систему предупреждения о ракетном нападении назвали "Купол"" [Russian missile early warning system has been named Dome.] (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  5. ^ Podvig, Pavel; Zuang, Hui. Russian and Chinese Responses to US Military Plans in Space (PDF). Cambridge, Massachusetts: American Academy of Arts and Sciences. ISBN 978-0-87724-068-6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Soyuz rocket launches Russian missile warning satellite". spaceflightnow.com. SFN. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  7. ^ Path, Neal (5 June 2020). "Russia sets up ballistic missile early warning satellite grouping to monitor the US". International Insider. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Podvig, Pavel (2002). "History and the Current Status of the Russian Early-Warning System" (PDF). Science and Global Security. 10: 21–60. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/08929880212328. ISSN 0892-9882. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 March 2012.
  9. ^ Zak, Anatoly (18 April 2012). "Oko early-warning satellite". Russianspaceweb.com. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  10. ^ Podvig, Pavel (21 November 2005). "Hopelessly outdated". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  11. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "US-KMO (71Kh6)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  12. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "US-KS (74Kh6)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  13. ^ Podvig, Pavel (30 January 2012). "Early Warning". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Structure". Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. n.d. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  15. ^ Pavel, Podvig (19 July 2014). "New-generation early-warning satellite, Tundra, to be launched in 2014". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket successfully launches Tundra satellite". SpaceflightInsider.com. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  17. ^ Safronov Jr, Ivan (26 May 2017). "«Тундра» в сосновом бору" ["Tundra" in a pine forest] (in Russian). Kommersant. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  18. ^ Podvig, Pavel (22 August 2007). "Russia is working on new early-warning satellites". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  19. ^ a b Podvig, Pavel (18 August 2011). "New generation early-warning satellite turned up in court". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  20. ^ Podvig, Pavel (29 April 2009). "Early-warning satellites - old and new". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  21. ^ a b c Safronov Jr, Ivan (17 August 2011). "Военные проиграли космический иск космической корпорации" [The military lost a space corporation space suit] (in Russian). Kommersant. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  22. ^ "Минобороны РФ заключило контракты на создание спутников для отслеживания ракетных запусков" [Defence ministry signed contracts to build satellites to track missile launches]. ITAR-TASS. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Oko Satellite successfully delivered to Orbit". Spaceflight 101. 30 March 2012. Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  24. ^ Pavel, Podvig (30 March 2012). "Cosmos-2479 - new geostationary early warning satellite". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  25. ^ https://tass.com/defense/1186069
  26. ^ "Russia's 1st EKS Missile Warning Satellite enters surprising Orbit". Spaceflight 101. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  27. ^ "Russia's Soyuz launches EKS Missile Warning Satellite, ends Year-Long Military Launch Gap". Spaceflight 101. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  28. ^ http://bmpd.livejournal.com/2628699.html
  29. ^ "Russia orbits missile-detection satellite". www.russianspaceweb.com. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.


  • Bart Hendrick (Monday, February 8, 2021) EKS: Russia’s space-based missile early warning system the Space Review
  • definition of the word: cosmos Cambridge University Dictionary Online

External links

  • The EKS system at Anatoly Zak's Russian Space Web