JSC Academician M.F. ReshetnevInformation Satellite Systems

1991-2000

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.