Site: Krasnoyarsk State University (KSU) and NPO/PM
Krasnoyarsk State University
79, Svobodny pr.,
Krasnoyarsk, 660041, Russia
Date Visited: October 1, 1997
WTEC: Neil Helm (report author)
Discussions with the following Russian officials are also included in this report:
Prof. Michael K. Chmykh
Krasnoyarsk State Technology University
Krasnoyarsk, 660074, RUSSIA
Valery Vladimirov, Director
"Electron" Scientific Centre, Academgorodok
660036, Krasnoyarsk, RUSSIA
Dr. Vladimir Cheremisin
NPO Prikladnoi Mechaniki
Krasnoyarsk is a city in central Siberia of about one million people that grew rapidly during WWII, with the movement of vital defense industries from the European sector to an area nearly 2,000 miles southeast of Moscow. With the beginning of the Soviet space age NPO/PM was given responsibility for many satellite systems, including nearly all of the defense and civil communications satellites. NPO/PM has built more flight spacecraft (perhaps more than 1,500) than any other single entity, and at one time had the only satellite assembly line in operation. Similar to the WTEC visit five years ago, this author was initially promised entree to NPO/PM, but last minute security regulations prevented a visit to the facilities, more than 50 kilometers outside of the central city. This NPO/PM facility, long called Krasnoyarsk-26, had its name changed to Zhelengorsk. However, it was possible to visit informally with a number of officials who were present at the State University or in the city at a conference. KSU is the largest arts and sciences university in the area, and like the Krasnoyarsk Polytechnic Institute, which was visited in more detail five years ago, has over 10,000 students and has close ties to the local industries.
KSU had faculty and students working on shipboard mobile terminals (similar to Inmarsat terminals), and fairly new laboratory areas were taking data from meteorological and communications satellites for environmental projects, but no new R&D facilities or activities were seen. One faculty member, Prof. Valery Vladimirov has started his own company "Electron" that produces ground terminal amplifiers, switches and filters. There are a number of ground terminal companies in the area, and similar to the observations five years ago, the equipment is rugged and probably reliable but larger and heavier than the comparable components and devices made in the West.
A communications and remote sensing satellite conference was taking place in Krasnoyarsk during this visit and the author visited with Dr. Vladimir Cheremisin, a senior NPO/PM official who briefly reviewed three NPO/PM spacecraft that were on display at the conference.
GONETS is a LEO spacecraft that was first launched in July of 1992. The second generation design, discussed in more detail in WTEC's report five years ago, was similar to the Iridium design, with a 225 kg spacecraft with intersatellite links working to handheld terminals. However, only a small number (6 or 8) of the early design have been launched, and they are used for store and forward low bit rate communications.
GALS is a direct broadcast satellite that has been in operation for about five years. In addition to TV broadcast, these satellites are used to provide newspaper and facsimile service to many remote villages.
ALEKON, one of the newer NPO/PM satellites, is a LEO spacecraft with an active phased array antenna for mobile communications at S-band. The satellite may also have models with C-band, Ku-band and possibly Ka-band communication capabilities, and may be adaptable to the higher MEO and GEO orbits.
There is general knowledge of additional communications satellites built by NPO/PM that were not on display. The following are two spacecraft being built as part of a joint venture by NPO/PM:
Russia joined EUTELSAT in 1994 in some discussions of the use of Russian spacecraft. In 1995, the SESAT joint venture was formed by NPO/PM and Alcatel of France to build a new EUTELSAT satellite with options for two additional spacecraft. The spacecraft will have 24 (18 active and six spares) Ku-band FSS and BSS transponders of 72 MHz. Alcatel will provide the communications payload and NPO/PM will provide the bus and the final test and integration, as well as the integration with a Proton launch vehicle.
RAO Gazprom, which supplies most of the natural gas for the Russian Federation, is the customer for two communications satellites named Yamal (for a Siberian peninsula of that name) with NPO Energia acting as the prime. The spacecraft payloads are being supplied by SS/Loral and NPO/PM will mate them to its bus and do the final test and integration, including the Proton launch. These modest, 10 C-band transponder satellites are in final test and should be launched soon. The Yamal partners have kept open their agreement to increase the size and scope of the Yamal spacecraft for other customers.
The Krasnoyarsk industrial area is trying to make the adjustment from being nearly exclusively supportive of defense requirements, to being competitive in the Federation if not the international marketplace. The large aluminum and steel factories are marketing to Western customers, and this industrial expansion is keeping Krasnoyarsk busy and looking prosperous, which is more than can be said for many of the smaller cities in the former Soviet Union that were reliant on one industry that is now not able to compete in the open market. In the satellite communications equipment area, NPO/PM must have the test and integration equipment to provide these last crucial steps in the fabrication of the Sesat and Yamal spacecraft.
In the past five years, KSU and the approximately 30 other academic and technical institutes in the Krasnoyarsk area have lost much support from the defense establishment. This has resulted in hardships on the faculty members who used the defense research to supplement their salaries. Junior faculty now make about $100 per month and the deans and senior faculty make approximately $200 per month. However, the universities are open and the students are well dressed and seem eager to learn. It is noteworthy that the 30 universities and institutes in this area of one million people have an engineering enrollment of some 30,000 students. Even the largest U.S. cities, or cities of one million with a large land grant state university, don't train as many engineers.