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Russia tests new telemetry system during manned Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft’s launch

This unification due to the Astra-06 apparatus' use will help the Russian space industry switch over to the serial production of telemetry systems, the manufacturer says

MOSCOW, December 10. /TASS/. The Astra-06 apparatus developed by specialists of Russian Space Systems (RSS) was used for the first time as additional telemetric equipment aboard the manned Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 3, the company’s press office reported on Monday.

"During the spacecraft’s flight, the Astra was undergoing flight tests, measuring quickly changing parameters. After the tests are over and its performance characteristics are confirmed, the new system is expected to be used aboard promising spaceships," the press office said in a statement.

The Astra system is maximally adapted for the telemetric image (telemetric data package) requirements while its modular configuration gives the system extra flexibility for mounting it on existing and future launch vehicles. The system’s universal nature stems from the technology of its assembly from modules, the statement says.

"The Astra’s design allows installing it aboard carrier rockets and other space vehicles. This unification will help the Russian space industry switch over to the serial production of telemetry systems, which will raise their reliability and reduce their cost price," Chief Designer for Measurements at the Research and Production Association of Measuring Equipment Yevgeny Borodin was quoted by the press office of Russian Space Systems as saying.

Compared to previous-generation telemetric systems, the Astra integrates the specially devised mathematical segment and the computing apparatus that process part of the data even before that are transmitted to Earth. The data are compressed and the spectral analysis is conducted aboard a spacecraft, which considerably reduces the load on communications lines.

The Astra earlier passed tests during its operation aboard a carrier rocket. The system successfully performed during the launch of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from the Vostochny spaceport on November 28, 2017 and aboard the Progress MS-10 resupply ship on November 16, 2018.

The new telemetric system was also expected to operate during the launch of the manned Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft on October 11 but it was not activated due to the incident with the faulty Soyuz-FG carrier rocket.