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Almaz-T (Resurs-R, 11F668)

Almaz 1

The Almaz-T (also designated Resurs-R) was a satellite dedicated to providing radar imaging capabilities used in geophysical, agricultural, geological and environmental applications.

The Almaz-T ("diamond") spacecraft design was based on the Almaz manned orbital station. The Almaz-T spacecraft had two 100 m² solar panels and batteries to provide power. The spacecraft used reaction wheels to maintain attitude and 3-axis stabilization. The interior was pressurized by nitrogen to sea level. The Almaz-T program had its origins in 1981, when the spacecraft was originally designed as a military reconnaissance craft. Although the basic layout of the Almaz space station was retained, it did not have any docking devices, so that no Soyuz or Progress service craft could be used. Almaz-T was designed and manufactured and operated by NPO Machinostroenye.

The sensor was a 3 GHz (10 cm) S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) that used two 1.5 × 15 m slotted waveguide antennas to obtain a resolution of 15 meters per pixel. Data was temporarily stored on board using video tape recorders, and subsequently down-linked to the ground stations via the Luch GEO satellite. The first two missions carried each two Ekor-A SAR sensort, Almaz-1 carried the improved Ekor-A1 system.

Almaz-1 also carried a radiometric scanner system (RMS) for infrared sounding of the Earth's surface.

A first satellite was originally planned to be launched in July 1981, but the launch was put on hold only three days before the launch date. The vehicle was left in storage until the program was restarted in 1985. The first launch (Kosmos (1803)) was made in 1986, but the vehicle failed to reach orbit.

Cosmos 1870 successfully carried the Almaz SAR prototype. It was finally comandeded to reenter on 29.07.1989.

Almaz 1 was launched on 31.03.1991 and operated successfully. The Almaz-1 spacecraft reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 17.10.1992 after 18 months in orbit out of an expected 30 month mission. The spacecraft executed a controlled descent over the Pacific Ocean after the maneuvering fuel was unexpectedly exhausted because of frequent orbit re-positioning due to increased solar activity.

An improved version was planned as Almaz 1V, but was never launched.

Nation: USSR
Type / Application: Radar satellite (modified manned spacecraft)
Operator: NPO Machinostroenye
Contractors: NPO Machinostroenye
Equipment: S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) (#all); radiometric scanner system (RMS) (A #1)
Configuration: OPS Module
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 2.5 years (planned); 2 years reached (#1870); 1.5 years reached (#1)
Mass: 18550 kg
Orbit: 293 km × 305 km, 72.7 (#1)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Kosmos (1803) (Almaz-T #1, Resurs-R #1) 1986-F07 29.11.1986 Ba LC-200/40 F Proton-K
Kosmos 1870 (Almaz-T #2, Resurs-R #2, Mech-K 304) 1987-064A 25.07.1987 Ba LC-200/40 Proton-K
Almaz 1 (Almaz-T #3, Resurs-R #3, Mech-KU 305) 1991-024A 31.03.1991 Ba LC-200/40 Proton-K