Encyclopedia Astronautica

Russian civilian surveillance satellite. Study 1998. The Predvestnik satellites were planned to form a space-based earthquake prediction system.

Prototypes would systematically collect data on electromagnetic phenomena preceding earthquakes and would prove microsatellite systems for use on an operational constellation of satellites

Work was undertaken in the 1990's with the IZMIRAN Academy of Science to develop a space-based earthquake detection system. It was determined that a warning days or hours ahead of an earthquake could save property and lives. Theoretical work an interactions between the earth's lithosphere, atmosphere, and ionosphere showed that it should be possible to predict earthquakes. A Predvestnik-E satellite was planned to collect systematically collect data on electromagnetic phenomena preceding earthquakes. It would also prove microsat systems for use on an operational constellation of satellites to be launched in 2000-2005 by Kosmos-3M or Start-1 launch vehicles. The operational Predvestnik system would consist of a constellation of 18 satellites in 500 km altitude orbits and three satellites in 1000 km altitude orbits. The spacecraft were of modular construction, and not hermetically sealed. Each satellite would have a mass of 130 kg, including 40 kg of instruments. The satellites would generate 400 W of power, of which 25 W was available for payload. The gravity-gradient stabilized satellite was 3 axis stabilized with an accuracy of 10 degrees in each axis. Navigation system provided position accuracy of 100 m or better and timing within one microsecond. Interest in the Predvestnik system was expressed by Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Japan, and the USA. However no development funds were forthcoming.


Electric System: 0.40 average kW.

Gross mass: 130 kg (280 lb).

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Associated Countries
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Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Kosmos 3 Russian orbital launch vehicle. In 1961 Isayev and Reshetnev developed the Voskhod space launch system on the basis of the R-14 IRBM. The initial version of the two stage rocket was designated Kosmos-1. The first 'Voskhod' launch complex was at Baikonur, a modification of one of the pads at the R-16 ICBM launch complex 41. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Arsenal Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Arsenal Design Bureau, Saint Petersburg, Russia. More...

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