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Cosmos 122



Cosmos 122 was the first announced Russian meteorological satellite and the last in a series of prototype meteorological satellites that included Cosmos 44, 58, 100, and 118. It was the last meteorological satellite launched from the Tyuratam site with an A-1 launch vehicle at a 65-deg orbital inclination, and it provided a transition from the prototype series to the Cosmos "Meteor" experimental weather satellite system. Cosmos 122 was orbited to test meteorological instrumentation designed for obtaining images of cloud cover, snow cover, and ice fields on the day and night sides of the earth and for measuring fluxes of outgoing radiation reflected and radiated by the earth-atmosphere system. The instrumentation consisted of (1) two vidicon cameras for daytime cloudcover pictures, (2) a high-resolution scanning IR radiometer for nighttime and daytime imaging of the earth and clouds, and (3) an array of narrow- and wide-angle radiometers covering the 0.3- to 3-, 8- to 12-, and 3- to 30-micrometer channel for measuring the intensity of radiation reflected from the clouds and oceans, the surface temperatures of the earth and cloud tops, and the total flux of thermal energy from the earth-atmosphere system into space, respectively. The satellite was in the form of a large cylindrical capsule, 5 m long and 1.5 m in diameter. Two large solar cell panels of three segments each were deployed from opposite sides of the cylinder after satellite separation from the launch vehicle. The solar panels were rotated to constantly face the sun during satellite daytime by means of a sun sensor controlled drive mechanism fitted in the top end of the center body. The meteorological instruments were housed in a hermetically sealed compartment located in the lower part of the capsule, while the basic satellite servicing systems were contained in a special hermetically sealed compartment in the upper part of the capsule. Data were transmitted to earth at a frequency of 90 MHz by means of a steerable high-gain parabolic antenna that was attached to the center section of the satellite body by a long arm. The satellite was triaxially stabilized by a series of inertial flywheels, driven by electric motors, whose kinetic energy was dampened by torques produced by electromagnets interacting with the earth's magnetic field. Cosmos 122 was oriented by earth sensors with one of its axes directed earthward along the local vertical, a second oriented along the orbital velocity vector, and a third oriented perpendicular to the orbital plane. This orientation ensured that the optical axes of the instruments were constantly directed earthward. Cosmos 122 ceased operations in late October 1966.

Alternate Names

  • 02254
  • Cosmos122

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1966-06-25
Launch Vehicle: Vostok 2M
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 4730 kg

Funding Agency

  • Soviet Academy of Sciences (U.S.S.R)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



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