35th anniversary of Loutch
October 25, 2020 is the 35th anniversary of the first launch of the data-relay satellite Loutch, which was sent in to space on this date in 1985 from the Baikonur cosmodrome.
Designed and built by ISS-Reshetnev Company, the satellite was launched into the geostationary orbit and laid the foundations of the country’s first space-based relay system.
In the Loutch project, ISS-Reshetnev Company pioneered many innovative solutions, mainly in the mechanical subsystem of the satellite. It was the first satellite that had an antenna pointing system that enabled precise beam pointing at user terminals and service availability anywhere within the coverage zone. The satellite was equipped with a multiband repeater and three large umbrella-type antennas 1.5, 3 and 4.5 meters in diameter. The antenna reflectors were made from a newest mesh material to fit within the launch vehicle fairing.
Operating as part of the space-based data-relay system Loutch, the satellite provided two-way communications between the Mission Control Center and cosmonauts on the Mir Space Station, enabled the fully automated flight of the Buran reusable space shuttle, communications with low-orbiting spacecraft outside the reception area of ground stations.
Based on ISS-Reshetnev’s satellites, the Loutch data-relay system also played a vital role in the international Telemedicine program, numerous teleconference sessions and live television broadcasts.
The Loutch project was then continued with a follow-on satellite Loutch-2 launched into orbit in 1995. Today the next generation of data-relay system Loutch is represented by three Loutch-5 satellites (first launch in 2011) that enable communications with low-orbiting satellites and other space technology objects, including the Russian segment of the International Space Station, generate high precision corrections for GLONASS signals, retransmit distress signals of the COSPAS-SARSAT system and meteorological data.