Strela (satellite)

Summary

Strela
ManufacturerNPO PM
Country of originSoviet Union
Russia
OperatorVKS / GRU
VKO
ApplicationsMilitary communications
Specifications
Power40 watts from solar panels
BatteriesNickel hydrogen
EquipmentUHF transponders
(NATO B / D band)
Data rate of up to 64 kb/s)
RegimeLow Earth
Design life5 years
Production
StatusOperational
Related spacecraft
DerivativesGonets (civil satellites)

Strela (Russian: Стрела, for Arrow) is a Russian (previously Soviet) military communications satellite constellation operating in low Earth orbit. These satellites operate as mailboxes ("store-and-forward"): they remember the received messages and then resend them after the scheduled time, or by a command from the Earth. Some sources state the satellites are capable of only three months of active operation, but in accordance with others[1] they can serve for about five years. The satellites are used for transmission of encrypted messages and images.

History

The first three satellites, Kosmos 38 (reentered 8 November 1964), Kosmos 39 (reentered 17 November 1964) and Kosmos 40 (reentered 17 November 1964), were launched on 18 August 1964. Five different types of Strela satellites have been launched, designated Strela-1 (1964-1965), Strela-1M (1970-1992), Strela-2 (1965-1968), Strela-2M (1970-1994), and Strela-3 (1985-2010).[2][3][4][5][6][7] Strela satellites are also used for the civilian Gonets program. The current version of Strela, Strela-3M is also known as Rodnik.[8]

In 2018 Austrian counterintelligence authorities uncovered an officer of the Bundesheer, Martin M. as a Russian spy. During the investigation, Austrian counterintelligence found a small suitcase. It had radio-communication equipment built into it so that Martin M. was able to connect to Strela-3 satellites and receive and send encrypted messages. The authorities also found a list of times when the satellite was positioned over Austria.[9]

Technology

Since today (2021) every Strela satellite is active with transmissions on two frequencies. Following observations were published in 2011: On 244.512 MHz a Strela-satellite generates a 0.5s long 'trigger pulse' every 60 seconds. It is mentioned, that the purpose is to activate ground based transmitters waiting to send a message. Satellites were identified by measuring the time of closest approach from Doppler curve. Received messages are then re-transmitted on the second known frequency at 261.035 MHz.[10]

Accidents and incidents

References

  1. ^ http://swfound.org/media/6575/swf_iridium_cosmos_collision_fact_sheet_updated_2012.pdf
  2. ^ "Satellite Catalog Number index (updated Jan 2008)". Jonathan McDowell. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Strela-1 (11F610)". Gunter Dirk Krebs. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Strela-1M (11F625)". Gunter Dirk Krebs. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  5. ^ "Strela-2 (11F610)". Gunter Dirk Krebs. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  6. ^ "Strela-2M (11F610)". Gunter Dirk Krebs. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  7. ^ "Strela-3 (17F13)". Gunter Dirk Krebs. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2009.
  8. ^ "Strela-3M (14F132)". Gunter Dirk Krebs. 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  9. ^ tagesschau.de. "Russische Spionage: Wie im Kalten Krieg". tagesschau.de (in German). Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Satellite Radio Frequencies - Strela". www.zarya.info. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  11. ^ Iannotta, Becky (11 February 2009). "U.S. Satellite Destroyed in Space Collision". Space.com. Retrieved 11 February 2009.

External links

  • Encyclopedia Astronautica - Strela