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Videos Elektro-L atop Zenit-3F/Fregat-SB on January 20, 2011
by SiberianTiger 01-18-2011, 05:45 PM

At present, effective reaching of the goals of meteorology is impossible without use of data supplied by Earth remote sensing satellites. One of such valuable assets is a network of satellites positioned at the Geostationary orbit. The World's Meteorological Organization superwises international network of GEO weather sensing satellites, which is formed by American GOES constellation satellites, European Meteosat, Russian GOMS №1/Elektro №1 (non-functional since 1998), and Japanese GMS. Also, there are Indian Insat and Metsat, and Chinese FY-2 weather sensing satellites at GEO.

The new Russian weather satellite Electro-L, built in 2010, has iternational designation GOMS №2 (Geostationary Operational Meteorological Satellite). It is intended to supply Russian Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring agency with following kinds of information:
  • Weather analysis and forecasting on global and regional scale.
  • Analysis and forecasting of conditions at seas and oceans.
  • Assessing and forecasting weather conditions affecting air traffic.
  • Probing and forecasting ionospheric conditions in the near space and Earth's magnetic field.
  • Monitoring of climate and global changes in environment.
  • Assessing conditions and developments at disaster sites.
  • Monitoring activities harmful to natural environment.

Elektro-L should be able to image multispectrally the entire visible hemisphere of Earth with resolution of 1 km per pixel (visible light band) and 4 km (IR band), every 30 minutes. In emergency cases, like during natural disaster's development observations, frequency of imaging may be increased to once in every 10-15 minutes, at command from the ground.

In addition to that, Elektro-L will obtain space environment data, relay and exchange meteorological data between autonomous weather platforms and other satellites, and also receive distress signals from SARSAT beacons.

Launch location:

Baikonur Launch pad no. 45/1 4556'35.87"N, 6339'10.83"E

Launch dates and times:

Launch times
Time Zone
Australia - Sydney/AEST
Baikonur / UTC+6
Moscow / MSK/
Universal / UTC
Washington / EST
Launch time (Primary):
10:29:01 p.m.
7:29:01 a.m.
Jan. 20, 2011
Jan. 20, 2011
Jan. 20, 2011
Jan. 20, 2011
Jan. 20, 2011
*Click here to restart the timer* Elektro-L Launch
*Click here to restart the timer* Elektro-L Separation From the Launch Vehicle

Live Coverage Of The Launch:


Elektro-L (GOMS №2) meteorology satellite:

Spacecraft Overview

Elektro-L is a second generation geostationary weather monitoring spacecraft, built and operated by Russia.

The spacecraft is designed to have modular composition. It consists of Service Systems Module and Payload Module. The former is represented by Navigator universal bus, which is developed by Lavochkin Space for use as a core in various spacecraft, such as Spektr series orbiting observatories.

Mass of the spacecraft in operational mode is about 1500 kg. Its effective lifetime should be no shorter than 10 years.

Electro-L is designed as an elevated operational compatibility spacecraft. When assembling and electric tests of the spacecraft are done at Lavochkin Centre, the satellite is delivered to a cosmodrome virtually ready to fly. This technology allows for significant cost savings on launch preparatory works.

Working Orbit:
Orbital Location:
76 East
Indo-Pacific hemisphere of Earth
ApA at separation:
35 785.8 km
PeA at separation:
35 413.6 km
Inc at separation:

Parts diagram:
  • Russian RosHydroMet Weather and Environmental Monitoring Agency
Prime contractor:
  • Lavochkin Association (NPO)
  • Navigator
Mass at Separation:
  • 1 740 kg
Dry Mass:
  • ?
  • 3 axis stabilized
  • ?
  • ?
Primary Meteorology Payload:
MSU-GS (Multispectral Imager)
  • Working conditions: Sun elevation 10-90, albedo 0.07-0.9, object contrast 0.2-0.7
  • Imaging zone angular width: 20x20
  • Observed spectrum bands: 10, ranging fro, 0.5 to 12.5 mkm (see band breakdown below)
Band #Wavelengths (mkm)Singal/Noise ratio or bolometric resolutionUsage
1,20.5 0.65,0.65 0.8>10Cloud observations, tracer cloud tracking for wind direction determination, aerosol observations
30.8 - 0.9>7Watching clouds of small sizes
43.5 - 4.01<0.35KDetecting low clouds, night ocean and land temperature
55.7 - 7.0 <0.75KWater vapour watching, wind determination, semi-transparent clouds
6,77.5 8.5, 8.2 - 9.2<0.28KObservations of semi-transparent layered clouds
89.2 - 10.2<1.5KMonitoring of Ozone concentration, wind in low stratosphere
9,1010.2 - 11.2,11.2 - 12.5<0.3KOcean and land temperature determination, amount of precipitation over oceans
  • Per pixel resultion in nadir: channels 1-3 (visible light) no more than 1 km/pix; channels 4-10 (IR light) no more 4 km/pix.
  • Pixels per scan line for 0.5-0.8 mkm bands: 12 576
  • Pixels per scan line for 3.5-12.5 mkm bands: 3 144
  • Scans in one frame: 34
  • Range of measured temperatures, K: 220 - 340
  • Time to obtain one frame, at 0.5-0.8 mkm: <= 15 mins
  • Time to obtain one frame, at 3.5-12.8 mkm: <= 2 mins
  • Full information output bitrate, kbit/s: 3150 - 4000
  • Working mode: session-like, with one session in 30 mins in standard and once in 15 mins in emergency mode
  • Powering up time: 5 minutes
  • Imaging method: mirror at discrete steps
  • Power consumption, W: <= 200
  • Instrument dimensions, mm: 875 х 520 х 450
  • Instrument mass, kg: <= 88
Space Weather Payload:
GGAK-E (Space Environment Prober) provides the following measurements:
  • Integral Solar Constant in energy range 0.2 - 100.0 mkm
  • Differential Energy Spectrae of electrons and protons in energy range 0.05 - 20.0 kEv
  • Electron flux density in ranges: 0.03, 0.1-0.7, 2.0-4.0, 6.0; > 6.0 MEv
  • Proton flux density in ranges: 0.5, 3.0-10.0, 30.0, 50.0, 100.0, 300.0; >300.0, >600.0 MEv
  • Soft X-Ray Solar radiation intensity in range 3.0-10.0 kEv
  • UV Solar radiation intencity in resonance line HL-alpha (121.6 nm)
  • Triple-orthogonal axes magnetometry (up to 300.0 nT)
Information Payload:
BSSD is an onboard data processing system with the following functions:
  • Accumulation of data from MSU-GS
  • Accumulation of data from GGAK-E
  • Accumulation of operational information from spacecraft systems
  • Storage of the data
  • Replaying and transformation of the data for transmitting over the radio link
Radio Communication Assembly:
Provides for the following functions:
  • Downlinking imagery information over 7.5 GHz band at 15.26 Mbit/s (single-band phase modulation)
  • Downlinking space environment readings over 1.7 GHz band at 2500 bit/s
  • Uplinking meteo information from autonomous surface platforms over 401-403 MHz band, from LEO satellites at 470 MHz, and their downlinking over 1.7 GHz band in phase modulated form.
  • Relaying processed Hydrometeorology and Space Weather data (in HRIT, LRIT messages over 8.2 GHz uplink / 1.7 GHz downlink; in plain form at 15.36 Mbit/s over 8.2 GHz uplink / 7.5 GHz downlink)
  • SARSAT distress calls relaying (over 406 MHz uplink, 1.54 GHz downlink)
  • Uplinking and downlinking at 8.2 and 7.5 GHz are carried out via targetable high-gain antennae.
Life time:
  • 10 years

Launch Vehicle:

Zenit-3SLБФ (or Zenit-3F) / Fregat-SB
Prime contractor:
  • Yuzhmash (A.M. Makarov Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant) - Ukraine
GRAU Index:
  • 11K77
58.7 m with upper stage and payload fairing (figure is for Z-3SLБ)
max 4.1 m
Liftoff mass:
473 metric tonnes (figure is for Z-3SLБ)
Payload mass:
~13.7 tonnes at LEO
1st stage:
  • 1 X RD-171 engine
  • Empty 33.9 tonnes
  • Propellants 318.8 tonnes (RG-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust in vacuum 7 908 kN
  • Thrust at sea level 7 259 kN
2nd stage:
  • 1 X RD-120 engine + 1 X RD-8 vernier engine
  • Empty 9.3 tonnes
  • Propellants 80.6 tonnes (RG-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust in vacuum 834 + 78 kN
Upper Stage:
  • GRAU Index: -
  • Common Name: Fregat-SB (meaning Frigate)
  • Designer & Manufacturer: Lavochkin Association (NPO)
  • Dimensions: Length 2.4 m, Diameter (max) 3.875 m
  • Empty Mass 1.05 tonnes
  • APT Empty Mass 360 kg
  • Propellants 7100 kg max
  • Main Engine: 1 X S5.92
  • Thrust in vacuum 2.0 tonnes of force (full power)
  • Thrust in vacuum 1.4 tonnes of force (small power)
  • ISP 333.2 s
Payload Fairing:
  • Diameter 4.1 m
  • Length 10.4 m

The vehicle's reliability statistics according to http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/reliability2010.txt:

Zenit is first flown in such configuration, so there we can assume 50% reliability...

For Zenit-3SLБ,
Vehicle     Successes/Tries Realzd Pred  Consc. Last     Dates    
                             Rate  Rate* Succes Fail    
Zenit 3SLB/DMSLB  3     4    .75  .67      3(B) 4/28/08  2008-
Launch Azimuth drawing

(don't try to click controls, he-heee...)

Elektro-L Ascent Profile

Orbit #Orbit NaturePerigee h, kmApogee H, kmInclination
2Intermediate3064 44050.4
3GEO-transfer36135 91448.6
4Target GEO35 413.635 785.80.5
4Fregat Disposal34 195.835 718.90.5

Elektro-L Ascent Timeline

EventTime MSKTime UTCComment
2nd/upper Stage Separation15:37:3812:37:38 
1st Burn Ignition16:44:2613:44:26 
1st Burn Shutdown16:52:4013:52:401st Burn's Duration 00:08:14
APT Jettison16:53:1713:53:17 
2nd Burn Ignition18:58:2015:58:20 
2nd Burn Shutdown19:08:5916:08:592nd Burn's Duration 00:10:29
3rd Burn Ignition00:19:06 (Jan 21st)21:19:06 
3rd Burn Shutdown00:27:4321:27:433rd Burn's Duration 00:08:37
Spacecraft Separation00:28:13 (Jan 21st)21:28:13 
Fregat disposal burn Ignition03:28:1900:28:19 (Jan 21st) 
Fregat disposal burn Ignition03:29:3900:29:39Disposal Durn's Duration 00:01:20

Weather forecast for Baikonur, Kazakhstan on January 20, 2011 (5 p.m.)

TimeTempsWindChillHeat IndexUV IndexDew PointRelative HumidityPrecipSnowCloudsVisibilityWindWeather
5 PM0C-2C0C0Low-4C70%20%19%53%16KMSW 1.34 m/s P Cloudy
Sunrise/Sunset and associated twilight times for Baikonur on Thursday, January 20, 2011

Times are local.
Astronomical twilight begins07 : 35
Nautical twilight begins08 : 11
Civil twilight begins08 : 47
Sunrise09 : 18
Transit (sun is at its highest)13 : 57
Sunset18 : 36
Civil twilight ends19 : 07
Nautical twilight ends19 : 44
Astronomical twilight ends20 : 19

Last edited by SiberianTiger; 01-26-2011 at 06:18 PM. Reason: info supplied
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:28 PM   #2
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There is Calendar event created for this launch, and you can request a reminder for this event here.
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:16 PM   #3
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History in pictures:


Elektro-L arrives at Baikonur. Unloading from the cargo container.


Elektro-L at spacecraft tanking station

:: 15.12.2010

Mating the spacecraft to the Fregat-SB upper stage

:: 11.01.2011

Incapsulating the spacecraft

:: 17.01.2011

The upper composite mated to Zenit-2SL rocket core, making up Zenit-3SLБФ (Zenit-3Ф) rocket launcher.

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Old 01-19-2011, 07:24 PM   #4
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History in pictures (continued):

:: 18.01.2011

Zenit-3F with Elektro-L satellite rolling out and erection at the launch pad.

History in videos:

A video telling about Elektro-L purpose and development (not embeddable here):


Works on the Elektro-L spacraft: tanking.

Rolling out and erection.

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Old 01-19-2011, 11:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SiberianTiger View Post
By the way, in this 2002 year's movie describing the spacecraft and its mission, they planned to launch it on a Soyuz-FG/Fregat and then use a trans-lunar slingshot to compensate for difficulty of launching to GEO off a high latitude. It is evident that less tricky and more muscle-demanding approach has eventually won.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:01 AM   #6
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There is a live coverage at TSENKI Video Streams: http://www.tsenki.com/broadcast/broadcast/
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:28 PM   #7
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Vesti in on air WITH sound! http://www.vesti.ru/broadcasts.html?id=1039

Launching in a minute!
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:28 PM   #8
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There's a liftoff!
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:29 PM   #9
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There's a 1/2 stage separation.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:31 PM   #10
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Launch occurred at 15:29:01.712 MSK.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:35 PM   #11
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2nd stage burnout, the upper composite separated. It should be in the parking orbit now.

Now coasting for approx 1 orbit before the 1st Fregat burn at 16:44:26 MSK (13:44:26 UTC).

Last edited by SiberianTiger; 01-20-2011 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:08 PM   #12
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Contact acquired by the ground control with the upper composite after its appearance from "no communications" zone.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:31 PM   #13
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1st Fregat burn commenced at 16:43:31 MSK, confirmed APT jettison, all is going nominal.
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:55 PM   #14
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You Tube

As the 2nd burn is nearing, NORAD has published elements of the upper composite in the intermediate orbit (at about 15:50 UTC):

NORAD #37344
COSPAR designator2011-001-A
Epoch (UTC)2011-01-20 13:49:27
Orbit # at Epoch1
RA of A. Node315.957
Period2h 15m 21s (135.35 min)
Perigee x Apogee296 x 4 413 km

A short video of the launch from Vesti TV:
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:14 PM   #15
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Nice ! Too bad there were snowy clouds !

The power of the RD-171 is impressive
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