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Almaz 1



The Almaz-1 was a satellite dedicated to providing radar imaging capabilities used in geophysical, agricultural, geological and environmental applications. The Almaz ("diamond") spacecraft design was based on the MIR/Salyut manned orbital station and a class of Heavy Cosmos military spacecraft (Cosmos 929). The Almaz-1 spacecraft had two 100 m**2 solar panels and batteries to provide power. The spacecraft used reaction wheels to maintain attitude and 3-axis stabilization. The interior was pressurized by nitrogen to sea level. The Almaz program had its origins in 1981, when the spaceraft was originally designed as a military reconnaissance craft. Almaz-1 was designed and manufactured and operated by NPO Machinostroenye. The sensor was a 3 GHz (10 cm) S-band Synthetic Aperature Radar (SAR) that used two 1.5 x 15 m slotted waveguide antennas to obtain a resolution of 15 meters per pixel. Data was temporarily stored on board using video tape recorders, and subsequently down-linked to the ground stations via the Luch GEO satellite. Almaz-1 also carried a radiometric scanner system (RMS) for infrared sounding of the Earth's surface. The Almaz-1 spacecraft reentered the Earth's atmosphere on October 17, 1992 after 18 months in orbit out of an expected 30-month mission. The spacecraft exectuted a controlled descent over the Pacific Ocean after the maneuvering fuel was unexpectedly exhausted because of frequent orbit re-positioning due to increased solar activity. Almaz-1 was preceded by Cosmos 1870 which succesfully carried the Almaz SAR prototype.

Alternate Names

  • 21213
  • Almaz1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1991-03-31
Launch Vehicle: Proton
Launch Site: Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome), U.S.S.R
Mass: 18550 kg
Nominal Power: 2400 W

Funding Agency

  • Russian Space Agency (U.S.S.R)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. William A. KennedyGeneral ContactRaytheon
Mr. William WirinGeneral ContactAlmaz Corporation
Dr. Alexander DunaevGeneral ContactRussian Space Agency

Selected References

  • Clark, P. S., From whence Almaz?, Space, Dec. 1992.
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