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Koronas Foton (Coronas Photon)


CORONAS (Complex ORbital Observations Near-Earth of Activity of the Sun) is a Russian program for study of the Sun and solar-terrestrial connections physics by series of spacecraft, which provides launching of three solar-oriented satellites onto the near-Earth orbit.

CORONAS-PHOTON (or Koronas-Foton) is the third satellite in this series. Two previous missions of the project are CORONAS-I (launched on 2 March 1994) and CORONAS-F (launched on 31 July 2001). Launching date of “CORONAS-PHOTON” spacecraft is 2009.

CORONAS-PHOTON is a part of International Living With a Star Program (ILWS).

The main goal of the project is the investigation of energy accumulation and its transformation into energy of accelerated particles processes during solar flares; the study of the acceleration mechanisms, propagation and interaction of fast particles in the solar atmosphere; the study of the solar activity correlation with physical-chemical processes in the Earth upper atmosphere.

Objectives of the mission:

Physics of the Sun

  • Determination of distribution functions of accelerated electrons, protons and nuclei and their dynamics with a high time resolution;
  • Research of difference in acceleration dynamics of electrons and protons (nuclei);
  • Research of distribution function variations for high energy particles (up to a few  GeV);
  • Research of interacting particle angular anisotropy by statistical analysis of radiation spectra and linear polarization parameters of hard X-rays;
  • Study of directional effects in the region of high energy gamma radiation;
  • Determination of mechanisms and requirements of electrons and protons acceleration in different flare phases, and parameters of propagation region of accelerated particles;
  • Determination of elemental abundance in the region of gamma-ray production by gamma spectroscopy and capture of low energy neutrons in the solar atmosphere;
  • Determination of radiation generation altitudes by observation of deuteron line weakening from limb flares;
  • Determination of energy spectra view of accelerated protons and nuclei and dynamics of these spectra according to nuclear gamma-line ratio;
  • Study of light elements generation (D, 3He, Li, Be) during flares;

Solar-terrestrial connections physics

  • Research of chemical and isotopic compositions of nuclei accelerated in flare on the Earth orbit, and also energy and temporal parameters of flare electrons and protons;
  • Monitoring of the Earth upper atmosphere by absorption of extreme ultraviolet of the quiet Sun;


  • Study of hard X-ray and gamma radiation from gamma-ray bursts;
  • Study of X-ray radiation from the bright local sources along Ecliptic plane.

The powersystem of Koronas-Foton failed in mid January 2010, ending the mission after only one year in orbit.

Nation: Russia
Type / Application: Science, solar
Contractors: NPP VNIIEM
Configuration: Meteor-M bus
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 3 years (planned); 1 year (achieved)
Mass: 1900 kg
Orbit: 500 km × 500 km, 82.5
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Koronas Foton (Coronas Photon) 2009-003A 30.01.2009 Pl LC-32/2 Tsiklon-3

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