Gonets (Russian Гонец, for Messenger) is a Russian civilian low Earth orbit communications satellite system. It consists of a number of satellites, derived from Strela military communications satellites. The first two satellites, which were used to test and validate the system, were launched by a Tsyklon-3 launch vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on 13 July 1992, and were designated Gonets-D. The first operational satellites, designated Gonets-D1, were launched on 19 February 1996. After launch, the first three satellites were given military Kosmos designations, a practice which was not continued with the other satellites.
|Manufacturer||NPO Prikladnoi Mekhaniki|
|Country of origin||Russia|
|Operator||Gonets SatCom (1996-present)|
|Launch mass||233 to 280 kg|
|Power||40 watts from solar panels|
|Equipment||UHF transponders |
(B-band / D-band)
Data rate up to 64 kbit/s
|Regime||Low Earth orbit|
|Design life||5 years (planned)|
Ten operational satellites and two demonstration spacecraft have been placed in orbit. A further three were lost in a launch failure on 27 December 2000. A new series of modernised Gonets satellites, Gonets-D1M, supplement and replace the satellites which are currently in orbit. A single first D1M satellite was launched by a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle on 21 December 2005. A second Gonets-D1M satellite was launched by a Rokot launch vehicle on 8 September 2010.
Gonets satellites are operated along with the third generation Luch satellites by Gonets Satellite System company. Gonets was originally a Roscosmos programme, but in 1996 it was privatised and operated by Gonets Satellite System, which was controlled by ISS Reshetnev. In 2017, Roscosmos acquired 80% of Gonets SatCom from ISS Reshetnev. The remaining 20% were held by Dauria Satcom. By 2018, Dauria Satcom sold the shares to Business-Sfera of Coalco group while Roscosmos sold 29% to other private investors. Gonets SatCom has become a Russian space industry company with the largest (49%) share of private capital.
As of 2016[update], the Gonets orbit group comprises 12 second-generation spacecraft "Gonets-M" and 1 first-generation "Gonets-D1". The orbital group performs the task of direct communication with subscribers at any point of the globe. With such a number of spacecraft in the Gonets orbit group, the system provides communication with waiting time characteristics as indicated in the following table. The next 3 Gonets-M satellites will be launched in December 2020 by a Soyuz-1b launcher with a Fregat upper stage from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.
|City, location||latitude||Session probability = 0.9 Waiting time||Session probability = 0.8 Waiting time||Session probability = 0.7 Waiting time|
|Meru, Kenya||0°||25.04 min||19.98 min||13.54 min|
|Fuli, Vietnam / Vitoria, Brazil||20° / −20°||19.47 min||14.97 min||8.85 min|
|Yerevan, Armenia / Wellington, New Zealand||40° / −40°||17.79 min||12.04 min||6.08 min|
|Belgorod, Russia / Isla Duque de York, Chile||50° / −50°||15.00 min||8.19 min||2.17 min|
|Vyborg, Russia / Orcadas Antarctic Station||60° / −60°||5.64 min||1.78 min||0.00 min|
|Kara Gate Straight, Barencts Sea / Novolazarevskaya Station, Antarctic||70° / −70°||3.45 min||0.00 min||0.00 min|
|Gall Island, North Arctic Ocean / Antarctic Kunlun Station||80° / −80°||0.00 min||0.00 min||0.00 min|
|North Pole / Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station||90° / −90°||0.00 min||0.00 min||0.00 min|
Technical characteristics of subscriber terminals 0.3–0.4 GHz
|Transmitter power||8–10 W|
|Positioning accuracy by GPS/GLONASS||up to 10 m|
|Power supply||AC 220 V, DC 12 V|
|Bitrates: "Subscriber – Satellite"||2.4–9.6 kbit/s|
|Bitrates: "Satellite – Subscriber"||9.6–76.8 kbit/s|