Author Topic: Sfera satellite constellation  (Read 10571 times)

Offline B. Hendrickx

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Sfera satellite constellation
« on: 06/15/2018 06:07 pm »
One of the hottest Russian space news item in recent days has been the announcement a new satellite constellation called “Sfera” (“Sphere”). President Putin mentioned it in a televized question-and-answer session on June 7. This is all I’ve seen on it in English:

https://www.rt.com/news/429017-putin-russia-space-exploration/

Quote
Super-heavy rockets & 600+ satellites: Putin eyes ‘breakthrough’ in space exploration

Russia has “unique” expertise in space technology, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Moscow plans to utilize this advantage to launch as many as 600 satellites and build brand-new rockets in the coming years, he added.

“We have our own unique new ‘Sfera’ [Sphere] program,” the president said during a live televised call-in show. The project envisions “launching more than 600 satellites in the coming years,”which will become part of a new satellite positioning, Earth monitoring, and communications system. The prospective satellite network was described as “a real breakthrough.”

That in turn could lead to “a revolution in the field of communication,”Putin said. The new system could provide communication that would rival cable communication in terms of quality and coverage, but would be cheaper and easier to access.

http://tass.com/science/1008600

Quote
MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The first six communication and remote sensing satellites to be put in space under the Sfera program Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned during his question-and-answer session on Thursday will be put in space in three years from now, the general director of the holding company Russian Space Systems (affiliated with Roscosmos), Andrei Tyulin, told TASS.

"This is a rather complex task. The three years we have for coping with technical and technological problems is a very tight deadline," Tyulin said, asked when the first satellite might be put in space. At first a demonstrator consisting of a satellite cluster fragment linked with ground infrastructures will be created.
"For now we plan to test only a fragment consisting of six satellites," he said.

The roots of this go back to at least November 2017, when Russian media reports talked about a Roscosmos plan to create a constellation of satellites to provide global mobile communications and Internet services. Called “Global Multifunctional Information and Communications Satellite System (GMISS), it was described as a Russian version of the OneWeb constellation. The leading company behind the plan reportedly was Russian Space Systems (RKS). 

https://www.rbc.ru/technology_and_media/22/11/2017/5a159bdb9a79476a55456d2b?from=mai

It was said to be part of a much wider program called “Digital Economy” approved by President Putin last summer.
http://tass.com/economy/956958

More details were given by Russian Space Systems during a presentation on May 22. The constellation was now called “Efir” (Ether) and would consist of 288 satellites to be placed into 870 km orbits by 2025. It was described as a system that would complement OneWeb and compete with Space-X’s Starlink constellation.  One of the partners in the project was said to be RKK Energiya (which presumably will build the satellite buses because RKS is not a satellite manufacturer).

http://russianspacesystems.ru/2018/05/22/rks-provel-prezentaciyu-novoy-sistemy-efir/

Andrei Belousov, an adviser of Putin, who had already criticized Roscosmos for not doing enough in the field of space commercialization, reacted to the plan by calling it “too little too late”.
https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3636521?from=four_strana

Then on June 7 Putin talked about a constellation of more than 600 satellites called Sfera which would be used for “satellite positioning” (obviously navigation), Earth monitoring and communications.

Roscosmos deputy general director Nikolai Sevastyanov somewhat clarified the situation in an interview with TASS
http://tass.ru/opinions/interviews/5285285

He said Sfera would consist of small satellites for mobile communications (Efir) and remote sensing to be launched in clusters on heavy Angara-5 rockets. In other words, Efir is just one component of the 600-satellite constellation.  He also briefly mentioned the Glonass navigation satellites, but did not specifically say that they were also considered part of the Sfera constellation, so it’s not clear why Putin mentioned navigation.

To add the confusion, RKS director Andrei Tyulin told TASS that yet another component of the Sfera constellation is a military communications satellite system called Sfera-V.
http://tass.ru/kosmos/5273178

This has earlier been described as a series of satellites in Molniya-type orbits to replace the Meridian military comsats (the "V" stands for "highly elliptical"). However, press reports in early 2016 said they had been delayed to at least 2021 because import restrictions resulting from the Western-imposed sanctions had made them too heavy to be launched by the then available version of the Angara-5. Instead, the Ministry of Defense would order additional Meridian satellites to fill the gap.   

So Sfera consists of:
- small remote sensing satellites in low orbits
- small Efir mobile/Internet comsats in low orbits
- heavy Sfera-V military comsats in highly elliptical orbits (unless Sfera-V is now a name for another type of satellite).

It is hard to see what all these satellites have in common. Hopefully, further reports will shed more light on all this. 

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #1 on: 06/15/2018 09:11 pm »
One of the hottest Russian space news item in recent days has been the announcement a new satellite constellation called “Sfera” (“Sphere”). President Putin mentioned it in a televized question-and-answer session on June 7. This is all I’ve seen on it in English:

https://www.rt.com/news/429017-putin-russia-space-exploration/

Quote
Super-heavy rockets & 600+ satellites: Putin eyes ‘breakthrough’ in space exploration

Russia has “unique” expertise in space technology, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Moscow plans to utilize this advantage to launch as many as 600 satellites and build brand-new rockets in the coming years, he added.

“We have our own unique new ‘Sfera’ [Sphere] program,” the president said during a live televised call-in show. The project envisions “launching more than 600 satellites in the coming years,”which will become part of a new satellite positioning, Earth monitoring, and communications system. The prospective satellite network was described as “a real breakthrough.”

That in turn could lead to “a revolution in the field of communication,”Putin said. The new system could provide communication that would rival cable communication in terms of quality and coverage, but would be cheaper and easier to access.

http://tass.com/science/1008600

Quote
MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The first six communication and remote sensing satellites to be put in space under the Sfera program Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned during his question-and-answer session on Thursday will be put in space in three years from now, the general director of the holding company Russian Space Systems (affiliated with Roscosmos), Andrei Tyulin, told TASS.

"This is a rather complex task. The three years we have for coping with technical and technological problems is a very tight deadline," Tyulin said, asked when the first satellite might be put in space. At first a demonstrator consisting of a satellite cluster fragment linked with ground infrastructures will be created.
"For now we plan to test only a fragment consisting of six satellites," he said.

The roots of this go back to at least November 2017, when Russian media reports talked about a Roscosmos plan to create a constellation of satellites to provide global mobile communications and Internet services. Called “Global Multifunctional Information and Communications Satellite System (GMISS), it was described as a Russian version of the OneWeb constellation. The leading company behind the plan reportedly was Russian Space Systems (RKS). 

https://www.rbc.ru/technology_and_media/22/11/2017/5a159bdb9a79476a55456d2b?from=mai

It was said to be part of a much wider program called “Digital Economy” approved by President Putin last summer.
http://tass.com/economy/956958

More details were given by Russian Space Systems during a presentation on May 22. The constellation was now called “Efir” (Ether) and would consist of 288 satellites to be placed into 870 km orbits by 2025. It was described as a system that would complement OneWeb and compete with Space-X’s Starlink constellation.  One of the partners in the project was said to be RKK Energiya (which presumably will build the satellite buses because RKS is not a satellite manufacturer).

http://russianspacesystems.ru/2018/05/22/rks-provel-prezentaciyu-novoy-sistemy-efir/

Andrei Belousov, an adviser of Putin, who had already criticized Roscosmos for not doing enough in the field of space commercialization, reacted to the plan by calling it “too little too late”.
https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3636521?from=four_strana

Then on June 7 Putin talked about a constellation of more than 600 satellites called Sfera which would be used for “satellite positioning” (obviously navigation), Earth monitoring and communications.

Roscosmos deputy general director Nikolai Sevastyanov somewhat clarified the situation in an interview with TASS
http://tass.ru/opinions/interviews/5285285

He said Sfera would consist of small satellites for mobile communications (Efir) and remote sensing to be launched in clusters on heavy Angara-5 rockets. In other words, Efir is just one component of the 600-satellite constellation.  He also briefly mentioned the Glonass navigation satellites, but did not specifically say that they were also considered part of the Sfera constellation, so it’s not clear why Putin mentioned navigation.

To add the confusion, RKS director Andrei Tyulin told TASS that yet another component of the Sfera constellation is a military communications satellite system called Sfera-V.
http://tass.ru/kosmos/5273178

This has earlier been described as a series of satellites in Molniya-type orbits to replace the Meridian military comsats (the "V" stands for "highly elliptical"). However, press reports in early 2016 said they had been delayed to at least 2021 because import restrictions resulting from the Western-imposed sanctions had made them too heavy to be launched by the then available version of the Angara-5. Instead, the Ministry of Defense would order additional Meridian satellites to fill the gap.   

So Sfera consists of:
- small remote sensing satellites in low orbits
- small Efir mobile/Internet comsats in low orbits
- heavy Sfera-V military comsats in highly elliptical orbits (unless Sfera-V is now a name for another type of satellite).

It is hard to see what all these satellites have in common. Hopefully, further reports will shed more light on all this. 
reusing an old name: http://russianspaceweb.com/sfera.html

Offline B. Hendrickx

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #2 on: 06/15/2018 11:03 pm »
reusing an old name: http://russianspaceweb.com/sfera.html

Not only Sfera, but even Efir is not a new name. It was used for two Zenit/Vostok type satellites used to study space radiation in 1984 and 1985 (Cosmos-1543 and 1713). They didn't have a heat shield and landing systems in order to save mass for the scientific payload.

http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/efir.htm

There are many other examples of the Russians recycling names in their space program. I suppose they think it's a good way of confusing Western observers... 

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Offline Lar

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #4 on: 07/20/2018 05:35 pm »
Starlink and OneWeb competitor, sounds like
« Last Edit: 07/20/2018 05:38 pm by Lar »
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Online Rondaz

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #5 on: 09/30/2019 01:23 pm »
In lack of investor interest @roscosmos has pulled the "Efir" project for 288 satellites from the gov's "Digital Economy" program. Efir was proposed as part of Sfera, the latter which is still alive and will feature comms, remote sensing and GNSS payloads.

https://twitter.com/Megaconstellati/status/1178568118597238784

Online Rondaz

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #6 on: 08/01/2022 03:38 pm »
Roskosmos will launch the first satellite of the Sfera group into orbit in October.

Roskosmos: the first satellite of the Sphere group will be put into orbit at the end of October 2022.

17:59 08/01/2022

MOSCOW, August 1 - RIA Novosti. The first apparatus of the Sphere multi-satellite constellation, the experimental Skif-D, will be launched into orbit from the Vostochny Cosmodrome at the end of October 2022, Roscosmos reported on Monday.

"Now the design of the satellite is ready and transferred to the assembly shop. At the end of September, Skif-D will be transported to Vostochny to prepare for launch. According to the plan, the satellite will be sent into orbit along with the Gontsov-M troika at the end of October," the satellite says. in the message of the state corporation in the Telegram channel.

It is noted that work on the Skif-D satellite started at the ISS Reshetnev enterprise in the second half of 2020. The assembly and testing of the device has now begun.

"The Skif-D space system is designed to test new technical solutions for providing high-speed Internet access services in Russia , including in the Far North and the Arctic , as well as to protect the orbital-frequency resource," the state corporation specified.

Earlier it was reported that the launch of the Skif-D demonstrator was scheduled for October 2022, but the exact date was not specified.

According to the government-approved Spheres project, a total of 162 satellites will be launched into orbit, although more than 500 satellites were originally planned.

The constellation will include communication satellites "Express" and "Express-RV", devices "Skif" for broadband Internet access and satellites "Marathon". In addition, the group will include Yamal communication satellites, Smotr remote sensing devices, and Berkut observation satellites.

At the end of 2021, it was announced that the Spheres project had finally been agreed with the government and received the first funding. Until 2024, 7 billion rubles will be allocated annually. Then it was reported that the total funding should be about 180 billion rubles.

The launch of the first Sphere vehicle, the Skif-D demonstrator satellite for broadband Internet access, is scheduled for October 2022. After that, the launch of the Marathon demonstrator satellite is expected, and at the end of 2025, the first satellite of the Express-RV highly elliptical communication system.

https://ria.ru/20220801/sputnik-1806498001.html

Online Rondaz

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #7 on: 10/23/2022 10:02 am »
14 billion rubles from the state budget were allocated to the space project "Sphere".

Manturov: 14 billion rubles from the state budget were allocated to the space project "Sphere".

23:22 10/22/2022 (updated: 23:24 10/22/2022)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, October 22 - RIA Novosti. The project to create a multi-satellite constellation "Sphere" received state funding in the amount of 14 billion rubles in 2022, it is planned to allocate 18 billion rubles each in 2023 and 2024, and 8.5 billion have already been reserved for 2025, said Deputy Prime Minister - Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov .

He recalled that the Sphere project envisages the creation of a satellite constellation of more than 600 spacecraft. The main goal of the project is to achieve a high quality of space communications services in the interests of the development and security of the Russian Federation.

"This year, 14 billion rubles have been allocated from the federal budget for the Sphere project, approximately 18 billion rubles each have been allocated in 2023 and 2024. Another 8.5 billion rubles have been reserved in 2025," Manturov said through the press service of the Ministry of results of the launch of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the Vostochny cosmodrome.

This is a rocket with the Gonets-M spacecraft and the Skif-D demonstration satellite, which is, in fact, the first satellite of the Sphere project launched into orbit. The Ministry of Industry and Trade also clarified that Soyuz-2.1b was launched on a new type of fuel, naphthyl, an environmentally friendly type of hydrocarbon fuel with the use of polymer additives.

As previously reported in Roskosmos, the implementation of the Sphere project will provide the Russian Federation with broadband Internet access, as well as the Internet of things for 50 million users. There will be its own digital radio broadcasting. In addition, "Sphere" will provide a special connection - presidential, governmental, departmental.

The required amount of financing for the project is 180 billion rubles. As Yuri Urlichich, who was then the first deputy general director of Roscosmos, clarified in July, the Russian government has so far approved its financing in the amount of 95 billion rubles.

https://ria.ru/20221022/finansirovanie-1825979133.html

Online Rondaz

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #8 on: 10/23/2022 10:02 am »
The first satellite of the Sphere group was launched into orbit.

The first apparatus under the Sphere program and three Gonets-M satellites were launched into a given orbit.

03:19 10/23/2022 (updated: 11:28 10/23/2022)

COSMODROME "VOSTOCHNY" (Amur Region), October 23 - RIA Novosti. The first apparatus of the multi-satellite constellation "Sphere" - "Skif-D", as well as three communications satellites "Gonets-M", launched on a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the Vostochny cosmodrome, entered the specified orbits, the press service told reporters. service of the state corporation "Roscosmos".

"There is a department of all apparatuses," a representative of the state corporation said.

The Fregat upper stage rocket with satellites was launched from the Vostochny cosmodrome at 22.57 Moscow time on October 22 (04.57 on October 23 local time). A few minutes later, the upper stage with satellites entered the reference orbit. After that, the "Fregat", in order to deliver the devices to the calculated orbits, performed five engine starts. The "Messengers" separated 1 hour 38 minutes after the launch, the launch of the "Skif-D" took 4 hours 8 minutes.

"Skif-D" will become a technology demonstrator for the future "Skif" broadband Internet access system, which will become part of the "Sphere". In the future, it is planned to launch a demonstrator of the Marathon Internet of Things constellation, and at the end of 2025, the first satellite of the Express-RV highly elliptical communication system, which will also enter the Sphere, will fly into orbit.

According to the government-approved Spheres project, a total of 162 vehicles should be put into orbit, although more than 500 satellites were originally planned. In addition to "Scythians", "Expresses" and "Marathons", the group will include communication satellites "Yamal", remote sensing devices "Smotr" and observation satellites "Berkut". In total, as Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov , head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade , said after the launch , the project provides for the launch of more than 600 vehicles.

As RIA Novosti was told in the press service of the Satellite System "Gonets " company, three new satellites are needed to maintain the system in a state of operational readiness. It consists of 12 devices - three in four orbital planes. "Messengers" are launched from Vostochny for the first time. In 2005, launch vehicles Cosmos-3M, Rokot and Soyuz-2.1b launched 22 Gonets-M satellites into orbit from the Plesetsk cosmodrome .

The Gonets spacecraft were first launched into orbit from Vostochny. In addition, this was the first launch from the new cosmodrome this year and the first flight of the Soyuz rocket , all three stages of which (and not just the upper one, as before) are filled with a new type of fuel - naphthyl, and not traditional kerosene.

https://ria.ru/20221023/roskosmos-1825999026.html

Online Rondaz

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #9 on: 10/23/2022 10:05 am »
The Sphere constellation will consist of more than 600 satellites.

Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Manturov: the Sphere constellation will include more than 600 domestic satellites.

23:25 10/22/2022 (updated: 23:26 10/22/2022)

COSMODROME "VOSTOCHNY" (AMUR REGION), October 22 - RIA Novosti. A satellite constellation of more than 600 domestic spacecraft will be created as part of the Sphere project, said Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, head of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade.

He also recalled that the main goal of the project is to achieve a high quality of space communications services in the interests of the development and security of the Russian Federation.

"The Sphere project involves the creation of a satellite constellation of more than 600 spacecraft," Manturov specified through the press service of the ministry following the launch of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the Vostochny cosmodrome .

This is a rocket with the Gonets-M spacecraft and the Skif-D demonstration satellite, which in fact is the first launched satellite of the Sphere project.

The required amount of financing for the project is 180 billion rubles. As Yury Urlichich , who was then the first deputy general director of Roscosmos , clarified in July , the Russian government has so far approved its financing in the amount of 95 billion rubles. So, instead of the originally announced more than 500 satellites, the project at that time had 162 devices.

https://ria.ru/20221022/sputniki-1825979807.html

Online Rondaz

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #10 on: 10/23/2022 10:07 am »
Three Gonets-M satellites, first Sfera module put into orbit.

It is the first rocket launch from Vostochny in 2022.

22 OCT, 17:51

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, October 23. /TASS/. Three Gonets-M satellites and a Skif-D module, launched on a Soyuz-2.1b vehicle from the Vostochny cosmodrome on Saturday, were put into orbit, Roscosmos told TASS.

"We have a separation of Gonets-M and Skif-D devices," Roscosmos said.

Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle carrying three Gonets-M satellites and a Skif-D module, was launched under the Sfera program from the Vostochny Cosmodrome at 22:57 Moscow time on Saturday.

It is the first rocket launch from Vostochny in 2022. The Gonets-M satellites were launched from that spaceport for the first time. Skif-D is also the first module to be launched into space under the Sfera program.

Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about the Sfera program during his annual Q&A session on June 7, 2018. The program includes the launch of communications and Earth remote sensing satellites. Former Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said at the time that the Sfera program would include five satellite constellations providing telecom services, and another five designed for monitoring.

Gonets is Russia’s only low-orbit satellite communications system designed for the global exchange of various types of information with mobile and stationary facilities, as well as organizing re-broadcasting channels for various purposes.

https://tass.com/science/1526171

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #11 on: 10/25/2022 10:44 pm »
Seems like it's now a civil/military fusion constellation, conceptually similar to the SDA constellation in scale with transport and observation "layers"?


Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #12 on: 10/26/2022 12:17 am »
Seems like it's now a civil/military fusion constellation, conceptually similar to the SDA constellation in scale with transport and observation "layers"?


Sfera's Initial operational capability constellation has been sited as the multiuser equivalent of SES's MEO constellation (originally O3B, et al). The overall unified programme goal is to replicate the new unified network structure of multiple orbit type constellations to which the West is adopting.
Example reference: http://russianspaceweb.com/gonets-block18-skif.html

Offline su27k

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Re: Sfera satellite constellation
« Reply #13 on: 12/02/2022 02:57 am »
Russia’s Sphere broadband satellite constellation gets regulatory OK, but sanctions make financing, component access a challenge

Quote from: spaceintelreport.com
Russia has won approval from international regulators to pursue deployment of the Sphere constellation of Ka-band broadband satellites in medium-Earth orbit but questions remain over whether sanctions against Russia will not suspend development.

The first satellite for the Sphere network, SkyF-D, was launched Oct. 22 aboard a Soyuz rocket as a co-passenger with three Gonets messaging spacecraft.

The launch occurred later than originally scheduled because the Gonets satellites, which were the main payload, were delayed.

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