Gonets-D satellites celebrate 20th anniversary
marks 20 years of the first experimental launch of two communications satellites Gonets-D, built by Academician M.F. Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems.
Successful experimental launch of two Gonets-D spacecraft in 1992 laid the foundation for the development of the Russian global civilian e-mail-type communications system based on LEO satellites. Constellations of this kind, consisting of small and low-cost satellites, are deployed in altitude of 1500 kilometers above the Earth surface and they offer a number of advantages, such as global coverage and continuous service availability. Gonets-type satellites can collect data anywhere on Earth, from Antarctic to the North pole and even in remotest areas. Effective use of the system’s capacity does not call for complicated ground infrastructure. Once having received information, spacecraft then process and store it. In fact, satellites of the system play a role of an electronic mailbox, as one user sends message to the satellite while the end user can later receive it.
In 1990’s some 20 various projects for the development of satellite systems of this type were run around the world. Russian specialists worked on the Signal and Kouryer systems, but only GONETS has stood the test of time. Information Satellite Systems team commenced building experimental Gonets-D spacecraft in 1991. They were based on ISS-Reshetnev’s early design of small communications satellites with substantial improvements in the onboard data storage device.
After the first launch in 1992 the GONETS constellation was further developed. New Gonets-D1 series was designed on the base of the first experimental satellites Gonets-D. New design included modernized electrical power supply and thermal control systems as well as an advanced repeater. The company experts conducted a comprehensive range of ground tests which verified systems’ reliability and proper operation.
Today ISS-Reshetnev launches personal communications spacecraft Gonets-M, and at the same time work on a new generation Gonets-M1 satellite is under way.