[FPSPACE] Russian tracking ships to re-enter service?

Bart Hendrickx bhen@planetinternet.be
Mon, 16 Jun 2003 11:24:24 +0200


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Chris van den Berg, who continues to monitor ISS communications, reports =
that he picked up communications between the tracking ship "Kosmonavt =
Viktor Patsayev" and the ISS during two passes on 7 June. The capcom =
aboard the Patsayev was heard telling the crew that another tracking =
ship, the "Kosmonavt Georgiy Dobrovolskiy", may also be used again for =
communications sessions with the ISS soon. =20



To the best of my knowledge, The "Patsayev" is still anchored in =
Kaliningrad and together with a former research vessel (the "Vityaz") is =
part of the Museum of the World Ocean. It does not appear to have left =
port for the communications sessions monitored by Chris. There was at =
least one similar communications test with the "Patsayev" during =
Expedition Five on 30 May 2002. The "Dobrovolskiy", the only other =
vessel of the former space tracking fleet that has not been sold for =
scrap or re-built for other purposes, is anchored in St. Petersburg. =
It's not quite clear if there are any serious plans for these ships to =
re-enter operational service. The communications test is not mentioned =
in NASA's latest ISS status reports (so Chris' "eavesdropping" work is =
as valuable as ever).=20



There have also been reports that the two ships could be modified for =
launches of Start rockets off the Canary Islands. One would be turned =
into a launch pad, while the other would be used to pick up telemetry =
from the rockets during launch. These plans have been around since about =
1999 and there was still talk of this early last year. I don't know the =
current status of these plans.=20



On a related topic, a recent press release from NPO PM in Krasnoyarsk =
(the prime manufacturer of Russian communications satellites) says that =
a Luch relay satellite was shipped to the Institute of Communications in =
St. Petersburg on 14 May, where it was to be put on display as part of =
celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. The report =
seems to suggest this is not a mock-up, but a spaceworthy satellite that =
will remain grounded forever, although the wording is open to =
interpretation. There was also a life-size Luch on display at a Siberian =
aerospace show late last year, but I don't know if it's the same =
satellite. If the satellite now on display in St. Petersburg is one that =
was originally supposed to go into space, the future of the Luch =
satellites looks pretty bleak.



Bart Hendrickx

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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">Chris van=20
den Berg, who continues to monitor ISS communications, reports that he =
picked up=20
communications between the tracking ship "Kosmonavt&nbsp;Viktor =
Patsayev" and=20
the ISS during two passes on 7 June. The capcom aboard the Patsayev was =
heard=20
telling the crew that another tracking ship, the "Kosmonavt Georgiy=20
Dobrovolskiy", may&nbsp;also&nbsp;be used again for communications =
sessions with=20
the ISS soon.&nbsp;&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">To the best=20
of my knowledge, The "Patsayev" is still anchored in =
Kaliningrad&nbsp;and=20
together with a former research vessel (the "Vityaz") is part of the =
Museum of=20
the World Ocean. It does not appear to have left port&nbsp;for the=20
communications sessions monitored by Chris. There was at least one =
similar=20
communications test with the "Patsayev"&nbsp;during Expedition&nbsp;Five =
on 30=20
May 2002.&nbsp;The "Dobrovolskiy", the only other vessel of the former =
space=20
tracking fleet that has not been sold for scrap or re-built for other =
purposes,=20
is anchored in St. Petersburg. It's not quite clear if there are any =
serious=20
plans for these ships to re-enter operational service. The =
communications test=20
is not mentioned in NASA's latest ISS status reports (so Chris' =
"eavesdropping"=20
work is as valuable as ever). </P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">There have=20
also been&nbsp;reports that the two ships&nbsp;could be modified for =
launches of=20
Start rockets off the Canary Islands. One would be turned into a launch =
pad,=20
while the other would be used to pick up telemetry from the rockets =
during=20
launch. These plans have been around since about 1999 and there was =
still talk=20
of this early last year. I don't know the current status of these plans. =
</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">On a related=20
topic,&nbsp;a recent press release from NPO PM in Krasnoyarsk (the prime =

manufacturer of Russian communications satellites) says that a Luch =
relay=20
satellite was shipped to the Institute of Communications in St. =
Petersburg on 14=20
May, where it was to be put on display&nbsp;as part of celebrations to =
mark the=20
300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.&nbsp;The report seems to suggest =
this is=20
not a mock-up, but a spaceworthy satellite that&nbsp;will =
remain&nbsp;grounded=20
forever, although the wording is open to interpretation.&nbsp;There was =
also a=20
life-size Luch on display at a Siberian aerospace show late last year, =
but I=20
don't know if it's the same satellite. If the satellite now on display =
in St.=20
Petersburg is one that was originally supposed to go into space, the =
future of=20
the Luch satellites looks pretty bleak.</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">&nbsp;</P>
<P class=3DMsoNormal style=3D"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: =
justify">Bart=20
Hendrickx</P></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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