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Sfera (Geoid, 11F621)

Sfera [NPO PM]

The Sfera or Geoid series were the first soviet geodetic satellites to improve the accuracy of maps. The development of the satellites started in 1965 at NPO-PM.

The cylindrical satellites were equipped with flashing lights to simultaneously photograph the Sfera satellite's position relative to starfields in the backgriound with an accuracy of 3-6 arc seconds. With this data, positions of points located at great distances from each other could be determined with a precision of 25-30 meters. The satellites additionally carried a radio transmitter which allowed to determine the satellite's velocity with an accuracy of 0.1 meter per second by measuring the Doppler shift of the signal.

The satellites were at the beginning typically inserted in 1200 km orbits with an inclination of 74, where the atmospheric disturbances ar neglectible. Later the orbital height was increased to 1300 - 1400 km.

Designed for a 6 month lifetime, most of the satellites lasted much longer. Initially the system suffered from various problems, but in 1973, the Sfera system was declared operational. Sfera satellites were operated until 1980, when this system was replaced with the more advanced Geo-IK (Musson) satellites.

Nation: USSR
Type / Application: Geodesy
Contractors: NPO Prikladnoi Mekhaniki (NPO PM)
Configuration: KAUR-1
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Kosmos 203 (Sfera #1) 1968-011A 20.02.1968 Pl Kosmos-3M
Kosmos (225) (Sfera #2) 1968-F05 04.06.1968 Pl LC-132/2 F Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 256 (Sfera #3) 1968-106A 30.11.1968 Pl Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 272 (Sfera #4) 1969-024A 17.03.1969 Pl Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 312 (Sfera #5) 1969-103A 24.11.1969 Pl Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 409 (Sfera #6) 1971-038A 28.04.1971 Pl LC-132/1 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 457 (Sfera #7) 1971-099A 20.11.1971 Pl LC-132/2 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 480 (Sfera #8) 1972-019A 25.03.1972 Pl Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 539 (Sfera #9) 1972-102A 21.12.1972 Pl LC-132/2 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 585 (Sfera #10) 1973-064A 08.09.1973 Pl LC-132/2 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 650 (Sfera #11) 1974-028A 29.04.1974 Pl LC-132/2 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 675 (Sfera #12) 1974-069A 29.08.1974 Pl LC-132/2 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 708 (Sfera #13) 1975-012A 12.02.1975 Pl LC-132/1 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 770 (Sfera #14) 1975-089A 24.09.1975 Pl LC-132/1 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 842 (Sfera #15) 1976-070A 21.07.1976 Pl LC-132/1 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 911 (Sfera #16) 1977-039A 25.05.1977 Pl LC-132/2 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 963 (Sfera #17) 1977-109A 24.11.1977 Pl LC-132/1 Kosmos-3M
Kosmos 1067 (Sfera #18) 1978-122A 26.12.1978 Pl LC-132/2 Kosmos-3M
Further Sfera and Geo-IK missions:

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