JSC Academician M.F. ReshetnevInformation Satellite Systems

Company history

Academician M.F. Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems traces its roots back to 1959 when it was founded as an eastern branch of Sergey Korolev’s OKB-1 in Krasnoyarsk-26 (now Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk region). Mikhail Reshetnev, who was a follower and a close associate of Korolev, was appointed head of the new company.

Initially the fledging company started off with design supervision of ballistic missiles, but as early as in the 1960s it embarked upon developing a light-lift launch vehicle of the Cosmos series and small communications satellites. Since then the company has been specializing in the design and manufacture of satellites for a wide range of applications.

ISS-Reshetnev became the first Russian company to develop low-orbiting, navigation and geodetic, direct broadcasting and data-relay satellites. Even today the Siberian company still remains unparalleled in many fields of Russia’s domestic market.

Throughout its 55 years, ISS-Reshetnev Company has built up extensive capabilities in satellite manufacturing. Among the company’s greatest assets are its highly qualified and dedicated employees, enormous scientific potential and world-class experimental and manufacturing facilities. Over this period ISS-Reshetnev has delivered more than 1 200 satellites for a wide spectrum of missions. They have served as a basis for more than 40 multi-satellite space-based systems and complexes deployed in all types of orbits. The company’s achievements and contributions to the national and global space industries were recognized with the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. More than 80 ISS-Reshetnev’s employees have been awarded various state prizes, including the Lenin Prize, the USSR State Prize, the Russian Federation State Prize and other government awards.


The time period between 1959 and 1970 was marked by the company’s efforts to define its specialization and can be generally referred to as ‘formative years’. The fledging company started off with design supervision of the R-14 missile which had been developed by OKB-586 of Dnepropetrovsk led by Mikhail Yangel and later went into production at the Krasnoyarsk Machine Building Plant. The first Siberian ballistic missile R-14 was launched from the Kapustin Yar site in mid-January 1962.

The first space project that OKB-10 (that became the new name of the company when it was reorganized into an independent design bureau in 1961) was fully in charge of was the development of a light-lift launch vehicle of the Cosmos family. It was derived from the operational R-14 missile design. The company made a name for itself on August 18, 1964 with a successful launch of a Cosmos-3 launch vehicle that placed three experimental satellites Cosmos-38, -39, -40 into designated orbits. Three days later two communications satellites of the Strela-1 series (Cosmos-42 and Cosmos-43) developed by the Reshetnev team were successfully launched from Kapustin Yar. That day proved to be a turning point since Siberia became the place where not only rockets but also satellites were born.

Starting from the mid-1960s, OKB-10 concentrated its efforts on the manufacture of the most powerful satellites at that time – Molniya-1 series intended for highly elliptical orbits. Three Molniya-1 satellites were launched into space in 1967. Satellites of this type were part of the world’s first communications and television broadcasting network based on satellites in highly elliptical orbits.         

In parallel with the Molniya-1 program, the company was busy developing satellites for navigation and geodetic applications. The year 1967 saw the first launch of a Tsiklon satellite which was intended for navigation and communication needs. The year 1968, in its turn, was marked by the launch of the first soviet geodetic satellite Sfera.

The company was renamed KB PM (Design Bureau of Applied Mechanics) in 1966. Within the first ten years of its existence the company laid the foundations for developing satellite technologies, including personal communications, navigation and geodetic satellites. 

Major milestones

April 1 The Council of Ministers of the USSR decides to open a subsidiary of OKB-1 in Krasnoyarsk-26 to carry out R&D projects and manufacture rockets using production facilities of the Krasnoyarsk Machine Building Plant (Krasmash).
June 4 The State Committee for Defense Technology decrees that a subsidiary of OKB-1 be established in a closed Siberian town Krasnoyarsk-26. Mikhail Reshetnev, deputy chief designer of OKB-1, is appointed head and chief designer of the subsidiary.
August 31 The subsidiary of OKB-1 in Krasnoyarsk-26 is assigned the number 2.
December 18 The subsidiary №2 of OKB-1 is reorganized into an independent Experimental Design Bureau №10 (OKB-10).
August 18 The first rocket made by the company, 11K65 (Cosmos-3), with three Strela-1 satellite mock-ups (Cosmos-38/39/40) is launched into orbit.
August 22 The first two Strela-1 satellites (Cosmos-42 and Cosmos-43) are sent into space.
March 6 According to the decree of the Ministry of General Machine Building, OKB-10 is renamed the Design Bureau of Applied Mechanics (KB PM).
May 25 The first Molniya-1 satellite built in Krasnoyarsk-26 on the base of the documentation provided by Korolev’s OKB-1 is placed in HEO. Spacecraft of this type comprise the world’s first communications and television broadcasting system deployed in HEO.
November 2 The Orbita television network based on Molniya-1 satellites is officially opened.
November 23 The Tsiklon navigation and communications spacecraft is launched.
February 20 The Sfera geodetic satellite is launched which will later form the core of the space-based geodetic system of the same name.
February 23 The Ministry of General Machine Building decrees that a Mechanical Plant based on a subsidiary of the Krasmash plant be established in Krasnoyarsk-26. Anatoly Mitrofanov is appointed director of the Mechanical Plant.
December 2 The Ionosfernaya stantsiya satellite is launched to carry out its research mission in the interest of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.


In the 1970s satellite systems developed by the Reshetnev Company and based on Molniya-1 and Molniya-2 satellites were still operational in orbits providing communications services in remote areas where conventional ground-based communications were not available. Meanwhile Mikhail Reshetnev’s KB PM was working hard on projects on satellite navigation. Alongside with Tsiklon satellites, the company started building next-generation communications and navigation satellites Tsiklon-B and Tsikada intended for low Earth orbits. And by the end of the decade the company went ahead with designing a conceptually new global navigation satellite system comprising satellites in medium Earth orbits. The system later got its name – GLONASS.

Soviet space geodesy at that time was represented mainly by Sfera satellites which were also designed and constructed by Siberian engineers led by Mikhail Reshetnev. The Sfera space-based satellite system helped create a geodetic Earth reference model and build a  global geodetic network in 1977. In a separate development, the company was busy developing next-generation Geo-IK geodetic satellites.

The 1970s also saw impressive results achieved in the field of telecommunications. Satellites of the Molniya-1, Molniya-1 and Molniya‑3 series in addition to providing services to special users also broadcasted television programs via a network of ground-based Orbita stations spread across the country.

One of the company’s main achievements that marked the decade was that it began constructing and launching satellites to geostationary orbit. A little more than a year had passed since the launch of an experimental Molniya-1S satellite when a Raduga satellite was launched into geostationary orbit in December 1975. It was intended to relay television signals to ground stations of the Orbita network. This event ushered in a new era of the Soviet space technology. In 1978 a Gorizont satellite was delivered into orbit. It was unofficially dubbed “the Olympic satellite” because satellites of this type were tasked with providing television and radio coverage of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. During the same decade the Reshetnev Company made yet another significant breakthrough – developed a series of direct-to-home broadcasting satellites Ekran which formed the core of the world’s first direct broadcasting satellite system.

In 1977 the Ministry of General Machine Building decreed that the Scientific and Production Association of Applied Mechanics (NPO PM) would be established. NPO PM included the Design Bureau of Applied Mechanics (KB PM) and the Mechanical Plant. Mikhail Reshetnev was appointed director general and chief designer of NPO PM.

Major milestones

November 24 The communications and television broadcasting satellite Molniya-2 is launched.
November 30 The communications and television broadcasting satellite Molniya-1 is launched.
June 6 The first satellite is launched into geostationary orbit – the Molniya-M1S spacecraft.
October 11 The Design Bureau of Applied Mechanics is awarded the Order of Lenin.
November 21 Molniya-3 is launched.
December 22 The Raduga communications satellite is launched.
October 26 The Direct-to-home Ekran satellite is sent to space with a view of providing communications and television broadcasting capabilities to the eastern part of the USSR.
August 1 The Ministry of General Machine Building decrees that the Scientific and Production Association of Applied Mechanics (NPO PM) be established. NPO PM includes the Design Bureau of Applied Mechanics (KB PM) and the Mechanical Plant. Mikhail Reshetnev is appointed director general and chief designer of NPO PM.
December 19 The communications and television broadcasting satellite Gorizont is launched to broadcast the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
In 1982
ISS-Reshetnev Company embarked on the formation of the global navigation satellite system GLONASS having successfully launched the first satellite of this type into orbit. In 2003 in accordance with Russia’s Federal Target Program the company began modernizing the system by augmenting it with new advanced Glonass-M satellites.


During this decade NPO PM continued pursuing a strategy of developing satellite systems for communications, broadcasting, navigation and geodetic applications. The company built and launched a great number of satellites of the Strela, Molniya. Raduga, Ekran and Gorizont series. In 1981 a next-generation Geo-IK satellite was placed into orbit. A space-based system consisting of satellites of this type, helped create two geocentric models of the Earth’s field, obtain more detailed information about its shape, establish a global astronomic and geodetic network.

Successful launch of a navigation satellite Glonass into the medium Earth orbit in 1982 put a new spin on space navigation. This event laid the foundations for the formation of the GLONASS global satellite navigation system which would later rightfully become a source of national pride in Russia.

In the 1980s the company made noticeable progress in the field of satellite data-relaying. In 1982 the Potok satellite was launched into orbit. And three years later the first data-relay satellite of the Loutch series was put into orbit. The two satellites embodied a large number of leading-edge solutions and technologies and, in fact, were ahead of their time.

Major milestones

September 30 The geodetic spacecraft Geo-IK is put into orbit to help build global geodetic networks, study the Earth’s gravity field and the global ocean topography, etc.
October 21 NPO PM is awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.
May 18 The data-relay spacecraft Potok is launched. It is the first satellite made by NPO PM whose on-board control system is based on a digital computer.
June 30 A satellite intended to support the COSPAS-SARSAT system is placed into orbit.
October 12 The first navigation satellite Glonass is launched and reaches its designed position in MEO.
November 28 NPO PM opens its office in Moscow.
October 25 The data-relay satellite Loutch is successfully placed into orbit.
December 27 The modernized spacecraft Ekran-M intended for direct-to-home broadcasting is launched.
June 22 The communications satellite Raduga-1 is launched.


NPO PM continued the formation of the Global Navigation Satellite System GLONASS. In early 1991 flight tests of the system were finally completed and in 1993 the system consisting of 12 navigation satellites was officially commissioned. By the end of the year 1995 the system reached its full operational capability with 24 Glonass navigation satellites operating in orbits.

Aiming to develop a new promising direction – the use of satellite technology for personal communications, NPO PM introduced its Gonets-D series of satellites. They became a good example of how communications of the “e-mail” type can be made available to civil users. On the base of these satellites a LEO system GONETS-D1 was formed.

In those years, the company produced its first satellite that was intended solely for civil purposes. That was the Gals satellite – it was used for international television broadcasting. As well as that, a fixed communications satellite Express was built and launched into orbit.

For civil satellites like Gals and Express, NPO PM established an experimental Mission Control Center and the Ground Satellite Control Complex in 1994.

The 1990s became one of the most important and pivotal decades in the company’s history, as NPO PM finally managed to enter the international arena. In 1995 the company started developing a telecommunications satellite SESAT ordered by a satellite operator Eutelsat. It was a joint project between NPO PM and a French company Alcatel Space (now Thales Alenia Space). NPO PM became the first Russian aerospace company to sign a contract with a foreign customer. The most powerful satellite built by a Russian company at that time, SESAT was successfully launched in 2000. The project opened up many opportunities for NPO PM and laid the foundations of its long-term cooperation with largest aerospace companies worldwide.

Needless to say, SESAT was not the only project NPO PM was implementing in the 1990s. The company was also busy developing and manufacturing a fixed communications satellite Express-A with a view of augmenting the national orbital constellation.

Major milestones

July 13 The Gonets-D satellite is successfully launched.
September 24 The global navigation satellite system GLONASS comprising 12 operating spacecraft is commissioned.
January 20 Gals, a direct-to-home broadcasting satellite intended for international use, is launched. It is the first time that a satellite is controlled from NPO PM’s Mission Control Center.
October 13 The fixed communications satellite Express rides a rocket into orbit.
October 12 The data-relay spacecraft Loutch-2 is launched.
March 12 Albert Kozlov is appointed general designer and director general of NPO PM.
March 4 Zeya, an experimental satellite, is successfully launched from the Svobodny cosmodrome.
October 23 NPO PM is named after Academician Mikhail Reshetnev, its founder and first director.
March 12 The fixed communications satellite Express-A is launched.
April 18 The SESAT satellite goes to orbit.


In the early 2000s, ISS-Reshetnev Company started a new project in the field of satellite telecommunications – the Express-AM program. A combined total of seven satellites of this series have been designed and produced by the company to date.

At the same time ISS-Reshetnev Company began deploying a LEO personal communications system GONETS-D1M based on Gonets-M satellites. Apart from communications and data transmission services, the system is used to track objects on the ground, support environment and scientific monitoring.

In the beginning of the 21st century the company proceeded with developing data-relay satellites. ISS-Reshetnev started a new multifunctional space-based data-relay satellite system Loutch. It is based on three data-relay satellites Loutch-5A, Loutch-5B and Loutch-5V and has the primary mission goal of providing communications between LEO satellites and launch vehicles, upper stages etc., as well as the Russian segment of the International Space Station. This project holds special importance to ISS-Reshetnev, as it was the first time the company was responsible not only for the development and manufacture of the satellites’ service modules, but for their on-board command and control subsystem as well.

The replenishment and modernization of the Global Navigation Satellite System GLONASS was a matter of highest priority for ISS-Reshetnev and for the whole country during the decade. With the economic crisis of the 1990s, the system’s constellation rapidly degraded and fell into disrepair. In the early 2000s ISS-Reshetnev Company committed to restoring the system and set further efforts to speed up the manufacture of modernized Glonass-M navigation satellites and the development of a next-generation Glonass-K series.

The federal state unitary enterprise NPO PM was transformed into a joint-stock company called Academician M.F. Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems (ISS-Reshetnev Company) within the scope of Russia’s space industry reforms. The company is 100 percent state-owned and keeps implementing crucial projects, thus enhancing the country’s defense capabilities as well as facilitating social and economic development. In 2008 ISS-Reshetnev hosted a visiting session of the Government of the Russian Federation. Held at the company’s facilities, the meeting was chaired by Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

During the period between 2000 and 2010 ISS-Reshetnev was focused on expanding international cooperation. The company signed a number of satellite construction contracts with foreign customers.

Major milestones

June 10 Express-A4, an improved satellite for fixed communications and television broadcasting is launched.
November 28 The low-orbiting scientific and research spacecraft Mozhayets is launched.
December 10 The first modernized Glonass-M spacecraft is launched into space.
December 29 The first telecommunications satellite of the Express-AM series is launched into the geostationary orbit. It is the next-generation satellite Express-AM22 with a mission life of 12 years.
April 22 The telecommunications satellite Express-AM11 is launched into geostationary orbit.
October 30 The telecommunications satellite Express-AM1 goes into orbit. It differs from the previous satellites of the Express-AM series by its payload.
December 21 A batch of next-generation Gonets-M satellites is launched into orbit.
June 9 President of the Russian Federation issues an edict establishing an integrated corporate structure ISS-Reshetnev Company on the base of NPO PM.
September 8 Nikolay Testoyedov is appointed general designer and director general of NPO PM.
December 24 The new Meridian satellite is put into the highly elliptical orbit.
January 28 The telecommunications satellite Express-AM33 is successfully launched.
March 3 The Scientific and Production Association of Applied Mechanics named after Academician M.F. Reshetnev is reorganized into Academician M.F. Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems (ISS-Reshetnev Company).
May 23 The small scientific spacecraft Yubileiny is launched. It was intended to carry out a wide array of scientific, educational and proof-of-technology experiments.
July 30 ISS-Reshetnev Company and an Israeli satellite operator SPACE-COMMUNICATION LTD. sign a contract for the delivery of a geostationary satellite communications system AMOS-5 based on an Express-1000H platform.
October 21 Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the Government, visits the Reshetnev Company. A visiting session of the Government of the Russian Federation takes place at ISS-Reshetnev facilities.
February 11 The telecommunications satellite Express-AM44 successfully launched. It was built by ISS-Reshetnev Company jointly with an European company Thales Alenia Space for Russia’s Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, the Federal Space Agency and the Russian Satellite Communication Company (RSCC).
December 21 The formation of an integrated corporate structure on the base of ISS-Reshetnev Company is finally completed. It includes nine companies involved in the manufacture of satellites and satellite systems: the Research and Production Enterprise “Geofizika-Cosmos” (Moscow), the Scientific and Production Enterprise “Kvant” (Moscow), the Scientific and Research Enterprise of Space Instrumentation Industry “Kvant” (Rostov-on-Don), Siberian Devices and Systems (Omsk), the Scientific and Production Center “Polyus” (Tomsk), NPO PM - Razvitiye (Zheleznogorsk), NPO PM – Small Design Bureau (Zheleznogorsk), Technical Test Center – NPO PM (Zheleznogorsk), the Siberian Design Institute of Machine-building (Zheleznogorsk).

Since 2011

As of today, the Reshetnev Company keeps taking part in the realization of federal space programs and building commercial satellites for both national and foreign customers.

In 2011 the first next-generation Glonass-K navigation satellite was launched into orbit. Later the same year the Global Navigation Satellite System GLONASS reached its full operational capabilities with 24 navigational satellites operating in orbits.

The company has also successfully tried a new tandem scheme of launching satellites into orbit. When satellites are launched in pairs, they are stacked one on top of another under the rocket’s fairing. The following pairs of ISS-Reshetnev’s satellites were launched using this scheme: Loutch-5A and AMOS-5, Loutch-5B and Yamal-300K, Loutch-5V and KazSat-3.

The Reshetnev Company also puts great efforts into the development of a LEO system for personal communications GONETS-D1M – apart from producing Gonets-M satellites, it is busy developing a new improved Gonets-M1 series.

While working on communications satellites, ISS-Reshetnev strives to increase its involvement in the projects, expand scope and scale of activities it is to fulfil. So, today the company is focused on the in-house manufacture of satellite payloads. Moreover, certain positive results have already been achieved in this area: the company has designed and manufactured payloads for data-relay satellites Loutch-5A, Loutch-5B and Loutch-5V.

To date, ISS-Reshetnev Company has also considerably increased throughput capabilities available on its satellites built around light-class Express-1000 and heavy-class Express-2000 platforms. The company introduced a new technical solution for satellites whose mass exceeds three tonnes: the use of an electric propulsion unit enables launching heavy satellites, thus exploiting launch vehicles’ lift capabilities to the full extent.

Major milestones

February 26 The next-generation Glonass-K satellite is successfully launched.
December 8 The global navigation satellite system GLONASS reaches its full operational capabilities with 24 navigation satellites operating in orbits (the orbital constellation is comprised of Glonass-M satellites).
December 11 The telecommunications satellite AMOS-5 (manufactured under a contract with an Israeli satellite operator SPACE COMMUNICATION LTD.) and the data-relay satellite Loutch-5A (developed within the framework of Russia’s Federal Space Program) are launched aboard one rocket into orbit. AMOS-5 is the first satellite built by ISS-Reshetnev Company around its unpressurized Express-1000H platform. Loutch-5A is the first satellite of the multifunctional space-based data-relay system Loutch, at the same time the first satellite construction project where ISS-Reshetnev is responsible for the design and manufacture of the on-board command and control subsystem.
July 28 The small experimental satellite MiR (Mikhail Reshetnev) based on a Yubileiny platform is successfully put into orbit. Its mission is to carry out scientific and technological experiments in space. It is equipped with some 20 prototypes of advanced instruments that need to be flight qualified. MiR is launched into low circular orbit as a ‘piggy-back’ accompanying two Gonets-M satellites and a military satellite; all of them produced by the Reshetnev Company.
November 3 A pair of ISS-Reshetnev’s satellites, Loutch-5B and Yamal-300K, are successfully launched into orbit. Loutch-5B was ordered by Russia’s Federal Space Agency and is intended to enable real-time data exchange between ground stations and LEO satellites, launch vehicles, their upper stages and the Russian segment of the International Space Station. As for Yamal-300K, it was built for Gazprom Space Systems to provide communications, television broadcasting and high-speed Internet access services to users across Russia.
February 28 Nikolay Testoyedov, general designer and director general of ISS-Reshetnev Company and Jean-Loïc Galle, president and executive director of Thales Alenia Space, sign an agreement on the creation of a joint venture specializing in the design and manufacture of payload components for telecommunications satellites. The signing ceremony is attended by Russia’s and France’s Presidents Vladimir Putin and François Hollande.
August 5 A joint venture between ISS-Reshetnev Company and Thales Alenia Space – UNIVERSUM SPACE TECHNOLOGIES, is officially registered.
December 26 Express-AM5, the first satellite built by ISS-Reshetnev around its heavy-class Express-2000 platform, rides a rocket into orbit.
March 16 A pair of ISS-Reshetnev-made telecommunications satellites Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 are successfully launched.
April 28 The data-relay satellite Loutch-5V and the telecommunications satellite KazSat-3, produced by the company for the Republican Center of Space Communication of Kazakhstan, are successfully launched together aboard one rocket.
October 21 The telecommunications satellite Express-AM6, based on ISS-Reshetnev’s heavy-class Express-2000 platform, is launched into orbit.
December 15 The heavy-class Yamal-401 satellite, designed and manufactured for Gazprom Space Systems, makes its journey to the assigned orbital position.