Six Thousand Leagues Above Water. / February 14, 2014 /
At the end of January 2011, the Elektro-L meteorological satellite was put into orbit. The geostationary hydrometeorological space complex (such is indeed its full name) is equipped with the payloads enabling observation of the Earth in visible and infrared regions. The satellite takes perfect images from which amateur astronomers make wonderful GIFs. „Lenta.ru“ suggests the most interesting things from folk art to its readers.
Elektro-L was started to be developed at NPO Lavochkin in 2001 as a contribution of Russia to the International Meteorological Observation Network. The satellite was expected to be in orbit by 2006 but because of the crisis in space industry due to great number of projects and lack of the resources for their realization, the satellite production was delayed.
So the satellite was lofted from Baikonur only in January 2011. It was place into orbit by the Zenit -2SB rocket with the Fregat-SB upper stage. The mass of Elektro-L was 1.8 tons. It was inserted into the geostationary orbit at the altitude of about 36 thousand kilometers.
The main payload of the satellite is the MSU-GS multispectral scanner of hydrometeorological support. In fact, it is a huge camera taking images of the full disk of the Earth every 30 minutes. If necessary (for example, during the storm observation), images may be acquired as fast as one scene in 10-15 minutes.
MSU enables very high resolution images to be acquires: 1 kilometer per pixel in visible region and 4 kilometers per pixel in infrared one. This yields the 125 megapixel images. The raw images are available on FTP server of the ROSCOSMOS’s Research Center for Earth Operative Monitoring and the ROSHYDROMET’s Scientific Research Center Planeta.
As an additional payload, Elektro-L carries the GGAK heliophysical complex comprising several scientific instruments including spectrometers and sensors of charged particles with energies from 0.05 to 600Mev, solar X-ray radiation flux sensor, and the device for measuring the Earth’s magnetic-field vector.
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