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Russia and Communications Satellite Systems

For the 20-year period from 1975 through 1994 the Russian Federation (prior to 1992, the Soviet Union) conducted an average of 16 communications missions each year. With the use of multiple-satellite launches, more than 600 individual spacecraft were placed in Earth orbit during this period into one of three regimes:

On a daily basis in 1994, approximately 80 communications satellites, from 250-2,500 kg, were operational.

The "Russian Federal Space Program to the Year 2000" identifies nearly twenty new satellite communications systems. Networks receiving federal support in addition to commercial financing include Arkos, Express-M, GalsR, Gonets, Mayak, Signal, and Yamal. Those which must secure complete commercial backing are Bankir, Express, Gals, Gelikon, Globsat, Kondor, Koskon, Kuryer, Nord, Sokol, SPS Sputnik, and Zerkalo.

During 1993-1994, 27 launches involving 47 communications satellites were undertaken, or 29% of all Russian space missions. Despite one launch failure, 27 LEO, 7 highly elliptical, and 12 GEO spacecraft were successfully deployed. While these numbers represent about half of the operational network (an acceptable 2-year turnover), some specific constellations have become increasingly populated with spacecraft operating beyond their design lifetimes. This situation is especially apparent in GEO.

Sources and Resources

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