MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. The launch of three Gonetsk satellites from the Plesetsk space center Tuesday has completed the formation of the orbital group of the eponymous satellite communications system, Gonets Satellite System company president Dmitry Bakanov said Tuesday.
"After the launch of this block of three Gonets-M space apparatuses, the group will consist of 12 Gonets-M satellites and one Gonets-D1. Thus, for the first time over the entire history of Gonets system creation, the orbital group has reached its regular strength," Bakanov told TASS.
"Control of the apparatuses was established immediately after the marker signal was received," he said.
Earlier it was reported that a Rokot carrier rocket was launched from the Plesetsk space center in northwestern Russia’s Arkhangelsk Region at 16:48 Moscow Time [13:48 UTC] on Tuesday. Initially, it was supposed that the Rokot would blast off March 3, but on the eve of the day, the launch was postponed indefinitely, and the carrier rocket was sent to undergo an additional engine check.
The Rokot light rocket was created under the conversion program on the basis of decommissioned intercontinental ballistic missile RS-18. The first launch of the Rokot rocket took place from the Plesetsk space center on May 16, 2000. The Defense Ministry plans to stop using these rockets from 2016 in favor of the light rocket Angara and Soyuz-2.1v. Rokot rockets have been launched from Plesetsk 22 times.
Gonets-M satellites are a product of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems (ISS) company. Each such apparatus has a mass of 280 kilograms and 14 data transmission channels. Its life cycle in orbit is five years.
At the moment the orbital cluster consists of nine Gonets-M satellites of the second generation and one Gonets-D1 first generation satellite. The previous trio of satellites was put in space in summer 2014. The Gonets system provides personal communications services and transmits various types of data, including that for the GLONASS information system.
Gonets is Russia’s only satellite communications system. It is designed for global exchange of various types of information with rocket and space equipment, as well as for organization of retransmission channels for various purposes.
The use of the Gonets system in particular makes it possible to transfer GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) coordinate data from a mobile object to remote monitoring and communications centers regardless of the subscriber’s location.