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Space


International Science Projects

By Charles S. Sheldon II*

1971-1975

OTHER RECENT SCIENTIFIC FLIGHTS

B. FRENCH PAYLOADS CARRIED BY SOVIET LAUNCH VEHICLES

1. Oreo1 1

On December 27, 1971 , the Russians used a C-l launch vehicle at Plesetsk to put into orbit a French payload, Oreol 1 (Aureole 1). The orbit, inclined at 74 degrees, ranged between 2,500 and 410 kilometers. This payload was part of a cooperative program called Arcade (Arkad). Its purpose was as a follow-on to the Soviet Bloc experiments with Kosmos 261 and 348, both of which made auroral and ionospheric studies. Although the payload was French, cooperating ground observatories were in Bulgaria , Hungary , the German Demo-cratic Republic , Poland , Romania , Czechoslovakia , and the U.S.S.R,

Apparently some of the instrumentation was from the Space Research Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences to supplement what came from a French research center in Toulouse . It had been in preparation for three years. In general, the French experiments related to their special knowledge of low-energy ranges of electrons and protons, while the Soviet specialty has been those in the high energy range, so that the two complemented each other very well. The instruments measured the spectra of particles over a broad energy range, including the integral intensity of protons and the ion composition of the atmosphere.

The ship also carried an orientation system using a Sun-seeker, and a three-component magnetometer; a radio telemetry system, and a radio system for monitoring the orbital parameters and for sending commands from the ground.

2. MAS-1

MAS-1 was a small French pick aback which they called SRET-1 which rode to orbit on Molniya 1-20 from Plesetsk on April 4, 1972 . The orbit was about the same as that of the Molniya—39,260 by 480 kilometers at an inclination of 65.6 degrees. The purpose of the French experiment was an engineering test of the characteristics under flight conditions of different kinds of solar cells. Later the weight was listed as 15 kilograms. Its shape was that of two pyramids, base to base.

4. Oreol 2

Oreol 2 was launched on December 26, 1973 at Plesetsk, using a C-l vehicle. The orbit ranged from 1,995 to 407 kilometers at an inclination of 74 degrees. It carried essentially the same equipment as Oreol 1 of two years earlier. Its orbit permitted extensive probing of the regions where polar lights occur. The belief is that the upper layers of the, atmosphere heat to a degree sufficient to initiate a controlled thermonuclear reaction, a temperature harder to achieve in a laboratory. Hence, the hope was that such studies would contribute toward the goal of initiating on Earth controlled thermonuclear reactions for power purposes.

As with the previous payload, there were coordinated ground observations made in various Soviet Bloc countries.

5. MAS-2

A. second French pick aback was carried by Molniya 1-30, launched June 5, 1975 . This was called MAS-2 by the Russians, SRET-2 by the French. The orbit ranged from 40,890 to 450 kilometers at an inclination of 63 degrees, after its launch from Plesetsk.

The payload was another engineering test, weighing 29.6 kilograms, about double that of its predecessor. It was to do research on the thermal protection of payloads in space conditions, to perfect equipment for a future weather satellite. The device had different radiation systems, and thermally insulated coatings of teflon, kenton, and other materials.

The French were not allowed to attend the launch of their payload.

6. Further French Experiments

In 1976, the Russians will launch a French satellite to study gamma rays and carry "Cytos", a biological experiment, and S-2, a solar energy test. In late 1975, a French experiment was carried on Kosmos782, the biological satellite flight. (15)

C. INDIAN PAYLOAD CARRIED BY A SOVIET LAUNCH VEHICLE

1. Antecedents

Another area of this study discusses in detail the cooperative relationships between India and the Soviet Union in the field of space. India operates in its own territory in south India the Thumba international range, to date used only for sounding rockets and other short range flights . Indian airports have been used to a limited extent as refueling bases for Soviet long range aircraft which patrol the Indian Ocean area on potential air search missions connected with Soviet space flights. When Zond 5 was returned from the vicinity of the Moon, it was picked up in the Indian Ocean , and transported by ship to Bombay where it was transferred for air lift to the U.S.S.R.

Just as India has worked to broaden its capabilities in nuclear power, including thermonuclear research, and in nuclear explosives, it has also moved toward development of a comprehensive space program. It hopes in time to have its own launch vehicles as well as variety of scientific and applied mission satellites. To gain time and experience, it has been working with the Russians for Soviet support in launching its first pair of satellites. Later it hopes to have its own communications satellites, early warning weather satellites to give notice of potential natural disasters, and Earth resources satellites.

2. Arydbhata

The Soviet Union and India negotiated in August 1971 an agreement which was finally signed on May 10, 1972 by whose terms, a joint effort would be mounted to launch a satellite. India had some 200 specialists at work in Bangalore , of whom 50 eventually went to Kapustin Yar for the launch. The satellite was the heaviest first satellite of any nation yet to enter the field of space flight. It was announced on April 9, 1975 that the satellite had been shipped from India to the launch site, some months later than originally planned.

15. "La Figaro, Paris , October 2. 1975, p. 13.

The launch of Ariabat (Aryabhata) came on April 19, 1975 at Kapustin Yar. It was put into an orbit ranging from 619 to 5b3 kilometers at an inclination of 50.7 degrees. The C-1 launch vehicle had been used. The payload weighed 360 kilograms. Tracking was done from the Soviet Union until the orbit was well established and then thereafter was done both in the U.S.S.R. and in India . The name Aryabhata honored an Indian mathematician of antiquity.

The experiments covered the fields of X-ray astronomy, solar gamma and neutron radiation, and particle flows and radiation in the ionosphere. While most of the equipment had been built in India , the solar cells and memory units were Soviet. The third day after launch, the main control was passed from Moscow to Hyderabad . The principal tracking stations were at Bears Lake near Moscow and Sriharikota near Madras . The payload was spin-stabilized.

After five days of flight, 60 orbits, the payload was shut down because of power supply problems. Later these were resolved, and full operation began again. By June, it was reported it was still working well with 950 orbits completed. Other reports discount the return to full operations.

3. A Second Flight

The Delhi domestic radio announced on April 23, 1975 that a second space agreement had been signed between India and the U.S.S.R. On May 8, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced the second Indian satellite would be launched in 1977 or 1978 by the U.S.S.R. There was speculation it might be an Earth resources satellite.

By December 1975, the second Indian satellite was described as planned to have two TV cameras to return real-time pictures of a 325 kilometer square area at a time, plus radiometers to measure ocean surface temperatures and land humidity. It will be spin-stabilized. (16)

D. SWEDISH COOPERATIVE PROGRAMS

With little fanfare, Sweden has begun space cooperation with the Russians. Local Swedish newspapers quoted Swedish scientific sources as saying a Swedish experiment and a Czech experiment were lost in early June, 1975 in a failure at launch of a B-l class vehicle at Kapustin Yar. (17)

A second Swedish payload is to be launched by the Soviet Union in 1976. Even more ambitious plans lie in the years following, according to private conversations with Swedish engineers.

References:

(A) SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS, 1971-75, OVERVIEW, FACILITIES AND HARDWARE MANNED AND UNMANNED FLIGHT PROGRAMS, BIOASTRONAUTICS CIVIL AND MILITARY APPLICATIONS PROJECTIONS OF FUTURE PLANS, STAFF REPORT , THE COMMITTEE ON AERONAUTICAL AND SPACE .SCIENCES, UNITED STATES SENATE, BY THE SCIENCE POLICY RESEARCH DIVISION CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, VOLUME – I, AUGUST 30, 1976, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON : 1976,

16. "Flight International, London , December 11, 1977 , p. 865.

17."See also press release of the Swedish Space Corporation dated Jan. 22, 1976 , describing the experiment and the failure.



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