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BLITS (Ball Lens In The Space) retroreflector satellite has been developed and manufactured by the NII Pretsizionnogo Priborostroeniya (NIIPP) in accordance with the Federal Space Program of Russia and Agreement between the Federal Space Agency of Russia and International Laser Ranging Service from 10 January 2006. The purpose of the mission is experimental verification of the spherical glass retroreflector satellite concept as well as obtaining SLR data for solution of scientific problems in geophysics, geodynamics, and relativity by millimeter and submillimeter accuracy SLR measurements. The "target error" (uncertainty of reflection center relative to the CoM position) is less than 0.1 mm, and the Earth magnetic field does not affect the satellite orbit and spin parameters. SLR is the only source of POD information.

The 170 mm diamerer BLITS nanosatellite consists of two outer hemispheres made of a low-refraction-index glass (LK6 type) and an inner ball lens made of a high-refraction-index glass (TF105 type). The ball lens radius is 53.52 mm, the total radius of the spherical retroreflector is 85.16 mm. The hemispheres are glued over the ball lens; the external surface of one hemisphere is covered with an aluminum coating protected by a varnish layer. All spherical surfaces are concentric. The satellite total mass is 7.53 kg. A small spherical retroreflector of the same type (6 cm in diameter) was fastened to the Meteor-3M spacecraft and tested during its space flight (2001-2006).

BLITS since 22 January 2013 the BLITS satellite was tracked as two objects, indicating some fragmentation. A reported collision with a debris particle of the FY-1C satellite, which was destroyed in a Chinese ASAT test, could not be confirmed.

A second BLITS satellite was manufactured as a replacement.

Nation: Russia
Type / Application: Technology, geodesy
Operator: NII Pretsizionnogo Priborostroeniya (NIIPP)
Contractors: NII Pretsizionnogo Priborostroeniya (NIIPP)
Equipment: Ball lens
Configuration: 17 cm glass sphere
Propulsion: None
Power: None
Lifetime: 5 years
Mass: 7.53 kg
Orbit: 814 km × 820 km, 98.8
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
BLITS 2009-049G 17.09.2009 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-2-1b Fregat with Meteor-M 1, Sterkh 2, Universitetsky 2, UGATUSAT, Sumbandila, IRIS
BLITS 2 - with ?


  • eoPortal Directory: BLITS
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