Satellite cleared to take off
by Mzwandile Jacks  /  June 17, 2007

It has just been announced that South Africa will launch its second microsatellite into low Earth orbit next month. If all goes well, the R26 million Sumbandila satellite (SumbandilaSat) will take to the heavens from Severemosk, Russia. The satellite will be launched after midnight from a Russian nuclear-powered missile submarine in the icy Barents Sea as part of a Russian navy exercise. The 18 200 ton Delta Class 4 sub, which is as long as one-and-a-half football fields, will use a modified Shtil 2.1 intercontinental ballistic missile as a launch vehicle to place the satellite into an orbit 500km above the earth. The satellite will be controlled from a satellite operation centre outside Pretoria. Once the satellite is deployed into space, it has a lifespan of three years. It is the culmination of intensive talks involving satellite developer SunSpace, the department of science and technology, Russia’s navy and space agency, authorities in the US and countries along the flight path.

The 81kg microsatellite will generate satellite imagery at a resolution of 6.25m ground sampling distance. It will send high-resolution images to the ground tracking station at the Hartbeeshoek satellite application centre in Pretoria, and a back-up station at the Overberg test range. It is an earth observation satellite system and its main payload is a remote sensing camera. SumbandilaSat will be able to transmit about 6 gigabits of image data to ground stations every day. The construction of the satellite is complete and environmental testing has been performed. Unfortunately, communications around two unexplained postponements of the launch have been rather less straightforward. SumbandilaSat was initially supposed to be launched last December. It was postponed to this month, but an announcement a few weeks ago said the launch would take place next month, without providing detailed reasons for the delay. Kristin Klose, a director of communications in the department of science and technology, says the government was asked by the Russian authorities to postpone the planned shipment of the satellite, pending the finalisation of official documentation in Russia. Klose says the postponement will not result in any disruptions or financial losses to the programme.
Space launch from a submarine

On May 26, 2006 one of the Project 667BDRM/Delta IV submarines of the Northern Fleet, K-84 “Ekaterinburg”, successfully launched a Compass-2 satellite into space. The Shtil launcher that was used in the launch is a converted R-29RM ballistic missile. This was not a military launch – Compass-2 (Complex Orbital Magneto-Plasma Autonomous Small Satellite) is a scientific satellite, developed at IZMIRAN (Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Wave Propagation of the Russian Academy of Sciences). The rocket was launched from a submerged submarine at 22:50 MSD (18:50 UTC). The satellite successfully reached its orbit with perigee of about 400 km, apogee of 490 km, and inclination of 78.9 degrees. It was assigned the following catalog number and international designation: 29157/2006-019A.

Russian Submarine Launches Russian Microsatellite
by Stephen Clark  /  29 May 2006

Using a Russian Navy strategic submarine and a converted ballistic missile, a small research satellite was launched into orbit Friday on a mission to aid in the potential development of earthquake forecasts from space. The Shtil 1 rocket blasted out of its launch tube at 1850 GMT (2:50 p.m. EDT). The three-stage liquid-fueled booster later released its payload as planned into the targeted orbit with a high point of about 300 miles, a low point of approximately 250 miles, and an inclination of around 79 degrees. The launch originated from the Russian Navy’s nuclear-powered Ekaterinburg submarine submerged in the Barents Sea inside the Arctic Circle offshore Russia’s northern coast. Ground controllers detected the first signals from the craft approximately seven hours later when it passed over a Russian ground station. The Complex Orbital Magneto-Plasma Autonomous Small Satellite 2 (COMPASS 2) was determined to be in good health, officials said. Known as Kompass 2 in the Russian language, the 180-pound microsatellite will soon begin its mission to study earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The mission is managed by the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere, and Radio Waves Propagation, or IZMIRAN, which is part of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The satellite carries five scientific instruments – totaling almost 45 pounds – to detect seismic activity and to help determine the tell-tale signs of impending earthquakes and other natural phenomena. Provided by scientists from Russia, Poland, Sweden, Hungary, and Ukraine, the instruments will probe the Earth’s underground lithosphere, atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere to learn how each terrestrial region is connected with a variety of events such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tropical cyclones, and tornadoes. Data from these studies will contribute to the efforts of scientists to establish a model for the cause-and-effect links associated with natural disasters found in all regions of the Earth. Scientists also hope to find precursors of earthquakes that will help in possible predictions of earthquakes based on information gathered from satellites in space.

Links between the upper atmosphere and seismic activity were first noticed in the 1960s, but hard scientific data was not available until 1979. The Interkosmos 19 satellite detected an unusual low-frequency noise in a large area centered near the epicenter of an earthquake that occurred a few hours later. This finding was later confirmed by other spacecraft. IZMIRAN launched the first COMPASS satellite in late 2001 with a specialized payload to further study these connections. The experiment quickly failed, however, when the instrument payload stopped working. A third COMPASS satellite could launch before the end of 2006. The launch was postponed two days from Wednesday to undisclosed reasons. The flight was the 19th space launch to successfully reach orbit in 2006, and the sixth launch from Russia this year.

State Rocket Centre “Academican V.P. Makeyev Design Bureau”

Special long-range missile design bureau SKB-385 later renamed Machine Building Design Bureau (KBM), was established by a Soviet Government Resolution, dated December 16, 1947. Before 1956 it was engaged in serial production of missiles designed by the OKB-1 design bureau headed by Sergei Korolyov. In the mid-1950s the KBM focused their efforts on the development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. For 30 years (1955 – 1985) the Design Bureau was headed by Victor Makeyev, a renowned scientist and designer. From 1985 to 1998 Igor Velichko was at the head of the Design Bureau. In 1993 the State Rocket Centre “Academician V.P. Makeyev Design Bureau” (SRC) was set up on the KBM basis. Since 1998 the State Rocket Centre has been headed by Vladimir Degtyar, General Director-General Designer of the enterprise.

The State Rocket Centre “Academician V.P. Makeyev Design Bureau” is the leading developer of strategic rocket complexes with submarine-based ballistic missiles and one of the largest research-and-design centers of Russia for development of space-rocket technologies. More than half a century of creative activities and selfless labour of the scientists, designers, production and testing workes of SRC and cooperating enterprises have resulted in the development and production of three generations of rocket complexes, eight base missiles and fifteen modifications that made up a basis for strategic sea-based nuclear forces of the USSR and Russia. In total about 4000 up-to-date serial sea-based missiles have been manufactured, of them more than 1200 missiles were launched.

At present SRC make a contribution to further development of home sea-based missile production, participating in design and manufacture of new rocket complexes and updating those in operation. In 2002 the SS-N-23 missile with warheads of higher reliability was put into operation. In the middle of 2004 the strategic sea-based rocket complex with a ballistic missile SINEVA successfully passed tests. The SINEVA is a missile of great potentials that will retain its efficiency for years. SRC actively participate in the Roskosmos programs, launch vehicle development and home and foreign spacecraft launches.

In 1995 the VOLNA launch vehicle (LV) was successfully launched with research equipment of the Bremen University. In 1998 two TUBSAT satellites were launched by the SHTIL launch vehicle. A small space platform was designed to efficiently construct various small spacecraft, in particular, the KOMPAS satellite that was launched in 2001. Since 2001 launches of experimental spacecraft have been performed to develop, under real conditions, promising technologies for new vehicles for interplanetary flights and missions connected with landing on other planets and return to Earth. Spacecraft launches are being prepared by SRC and European Space Agency to study flight aerothermodynamics. Under order of the “Air Launch” aerospace corporation, an air-borne space-rocket complex is being developed now. Within the framework of the development of international space-rocket complex TSIKLON-2K a space booster is being designed.

According to a Russian-Brazil cooperation program, activities are performed on updating of the technical and operating characteristics of the Brazil VLS-1 space-rocket complex. The goal of the studies is to create the conditions required to efficiently use the VLS-1 LV for launching various-purpose satellites from the Alkantara Space Centre. Applying their great scientific and technical potential, SRC develop various science-intensive products and equipment, including those import substituting, for petroleum industry, firefighting and construction facilities, medical equipment.

One of successful conversion projects of SRC is the establishment of the South-Ural special center in 1995 for elimination of munition and ammunition that executes off-budget orders for arms elimination. Under order of the Department of Energy of the USA 1-kW, 3-kW and 30-kW wind turbines have been designed and serial production is being prepared. Hydrogen wind stations are under development. The AKP-50 fire car lift, truck-mounted SB-170 concrete pump and foam elevator have been designed and manufactured. Traditional principles of SRC activities are high performance level, novelty and reliability of designs, unconditional fulfillment of partnership obligations. You are welcome to make use of SRC services on the basis of creative and mutually beneficial cooperation.


State Rocket Center Academician V.H. Makeev Design Bureau
1 Turgoyakskoye Shosse,
Chelyabinsk Region, Miass, Russia, 456300
Phone: (3513) 28-63-33, 53-39-70
Fax: (3513) 56-61-91, 24-12-33
E-mail: src [at] makeyev [dot] ru

Director General – Designer General of SRC “Makeyev Design Bureau”
Degtyar Vladimir Grigoryevich
Phone: (3513) 28-63-33

First Deputy Designer General
Danilkin Vyacheslav Andreyevich
Space rocketry, general co-ordination of SRC conversion activities.
Phone: (3513) 28-60-47

First Deputy Designer General
Telitsyn Yuri Sergeyevich
Space rocketry, fire-fighting, construction, wind-power unit designs.
Phone: (3513) 28-63-66

Deputy Designer General
Efendiyev Sergei Magomedovich
Information technologies and communication. Water treatment plants and
Phone: (3513) 28-60-80

Deputy Designer General for civil products
Kirillov Yuri Kommunarovich
Coordination of the SRC conversion activities. Petroleum industry
equipment. Railroad and power-generating facilities. Medical
Phone: (3513) 28-60-28

Deputy Designer General
Shparov Vladimir Petrovich
Strength, corrosion-climatic, vibration test complexes, water and heat
meters servicing and diagnostics. Center of certification.
Phone: (3513) 28-63-24

Russia places order with SSTL for satellite platform equipment  /  27 March 2007

World leading small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed an order with the Federal State Unitary Enterprise – The Russian Research and Production Enterprise Pan-Russian Research Institute for Electromechanics (FSUE NPP VNIIEM) and Radioexport of Russia for the supply of satellite platform equipment and services for the KANOPUS Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Earth observation spacecraft. The first satellite, KANOPUS-B, will be ready for launch in 2008. It will monitor the Earth’s surface and will support the monitoring of disasters, agricultural planning and the management of water and coastal resources. Under the contract SSTL will supply FSUE NPP VNIIEM with the platform avionics equipment and software, and support their spacecraft assembly and integration activities in Russia. The multimillion pound contract marks the beginning of a longer-term relationship between the companies, with at least two further projects on the agenda. An FSUE NPP VNIIEM spokesperson commented: “It was essential for our company to select a partner with a proven track record in delivering flight-proven systems within extremely demanding schedules to ensure that we will be flight-ready in time for launch.”

SSTL Executive Chairman, Sir Martin Sweeting, commented: “FSUE NPP VNIIEM’s selection of SSTL reflects on our track record of consistently delivering successful small satellite missions, within fixed budgets and on schedule. This contract is a unique opportunity for FSUE NPP VNIIEM and SSTL to further develop its cooperation on future Russian small satellite projects”. Commercial Space Technologies (CST), based in London and Moscow, acted as SSTL’s local representative in Russia to assist negotiations with NPP VNIIEM and Radioexport. This success follows recent contract awards for two high capability Earth observation satellites: NigeriaSat-2 for Nigeria’s National Space Research and Development Agency and an additional DMC satellite for Spanish company Deimos. Last month ESA awarded SSTL a follow-on contract for the supply of a second navigation satellite, GIOVE-A2. SSTL now has 12 new satellites under construction and test at its facilities in Guilford, England for customers in Europe, North America and Africa. Earlier this month, SSTL’s latest satellite, CFESat, a research satellite for the US Department of Energy Los Alamos National Laboratory, was launched on an EELV from the Kennedy Space Centre.

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited
Tycho House
Surrey Space Centre
20 Stephenson Road
Surrey Research Park
Guildford, GU2 7YE
United Kingdom

Switchboard: +44 (0)1483 803803
Fax: +44 (0)1483 803804
mailto:info [at] sstl [dot] co [dot] uk