Encyclopedia Astronautica
Energia Polar City Illuminator

Russian earth environment satellite. Study 1984. The Energia launch vehicle could be used to launch 100 orbital reflectors to provide light to cities located in the polar regions.

These reflectors would be placed in sun synchronous orbits at 1700 km altitude / 103 deg inclination. Each satellite would be 240 m in diameter and have a mass of 5 to 6 metric tons. Each satellite would have a ten year life and be usable 8 hours daily, and illuminate a 17 km diameter circular area on the earth's surface. The concept was tested on two Znamya 25 m diameter reflectors deployed from Progress M-15 and M-40 spacecraft in 1993 and 1998. Deployment problems prevented either test from being successful.

The satellite's equipment module would include solar panels, a KAR gyroscopic pointing system, and a laser unit to scan and control the form of the reflector. Pressure from the solar wind would be used to make orbital corrections.

The illuminators would be orbited 10 to 12 at a time. A single Energia launch would put a 69 metric ton payload into a 450 km / 103 deg orbit. A solar electric engine interorbital tug would take the satellites to the higher operational orbit and then deploy them.

Gross mass: 6,000 kg (13,200 lb).
Span: 240.00 m (780.00 ft).

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Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Energia The Energia-Buran Reusable Space System (MKS) began development in 1976 as a Soviet booster that would exceed the capabilities of the US shuttle system. Following extended development, Energia made two successful flights in 1987-1988. But the Soviet Union was crumbling, and the ambitious plans to build an orbiting defense shield, to renew the ozone layer, dispose of nuclear waste, illuminate polar cities, colonize the moon and Mars, were not to be. Funding dried up and the Energia-Buran program completely disappeared from the government's budget after 1993. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

  • Semenov, Yuri P Editor, Raketno-kosmicheskaya korporatsiya 'Energia' imeni S P Koroleva, Moscow, Russia, 1996.

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