25 years since the first launch of Gals satellite
January 20, 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the day when the first Gals satellite, one of ISS-Reshetnev Company’s groundbreaking and most important projects, was launched.
The Gals direct broadcasting satellite flew to space on January 20, 1994. It was the first satellite designed and built by ISS-Reshetnev Company in the 1990s, a troubled period of economic and social reforms following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Gals was designed to support a variety of direct broadcast customers having individual receiving antennas.
In Gals a large number of breakthrough technologies were introduced for the first time, a long awaited debut not only in the Russian but in the global satellite building industry as well. The satellite was equipped with plasma engines, which helped substantially lower the mass of the satellite’s fueled orbit control subsystem and thus increase lifespans of Russia’s new geostationary satellites. The Gals satellite was also the first to employ the onboard orbit control subsystem enabling to maintain station keeping in longitude and latitude at ±0.05°. Apart from that, Gals was also the first Russian satellite equipped with narrow beam antennas operating in high frequencies. The satellite’s antenna pointing was done not only about two axes as it had been before, but the antenna pointing subsystem could also rotate and point satellite’s antennas to some another coverage zone.
All Gals satellite control operations were for the first time performed by civilian specialists from a Mission control center located in Zheleznogorsk.
A total of two satellites of the Gals series were launched. Both of them proved highly reliable having worked in space for more than seven years instead of their 5-year designed lifespan.