A Gonets-M satellite at Salon du Bourget in 2013.
ManufacturerNPO Prikladnoi Mekhaniki
Country of originRussia
OperatorGonets SatCom (1996-present)
Roscosmos (1992-1996)
Launch mass233 to 280 kg
Power40 watts from solar panels
EquipmentUHF transponders [1]
(B-band / D-band)
Data rate up to 64 kbit/s
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Design life5 years (planned)
Related spacecraft
Derived fromStrela

Gonets (Russian Гонец, for Messenger) is a Russian civilian low Earth orbit communications satellite system. It consists of a number of satellites, derived from Strela military communications satellites. The first two satellites, which were used to test and validate the system, were launched by a Tsyklon-3 launch vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on 13 July 1992,[2] and were designated Gonets-D.[3] The first operational satellites, designated Gonets-D1, were launched on 19 February 1996.[3] After launch, the first three satellites were given military Kosmos designations, a practice which was not continued with the other satellites.[2]

Ten operational satellites and two demonstration spacecraft have been placed in orbit. A further three were lost in a launch failure on 27 December 2000. A new series of modernised Gonets satellites, Gonets-D1M, supplement and replace the satellites which are currently in orbit. A single first D1M satellite was launched by a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle on 21 December 2005.[4] A second Gonets-D1M satellite was launched by a Rokot launch vehicle on 8 September 2010.[4]


Gonets satellites are operated along with the third generation Luch satellites by Gonets Satellite System company. Gonets was originally a Roscosmos programme, but in 1996 it was privatised and operated by Gonets Satellite System,[5] which was controlled by ISS Reshetnev.[6] In 2017, Roscosmos acquired 80% of Gonets SatCom from ISS Reshetnev. The remaining 20% were held by Dauria Satcom.[7] By 2018, Dauria Satcom sold the shares to Business-Sfera of Coalco group while Roscosmos sold 29% to other private investors. Gonets SatCom has become a Russian space industry company with the largest (49%) share of private capital.[8]

User characteristics

As of 2016, the Gonets orbit group comprises 25 second-generation spacecraft "Gonets-M" and 1 first-generation "Gonets-D1". The orbital group performs the task of direct communication with subscribers at any point of the globe. With such a number of spacecraft in the Gonets orbit group, the system provides communication with waiting time characteristics as indicated in the following table. The next 3 Gonets-M satellites will be launched in 2022 by an Angara-1.2 launcher from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.[9]

waiting time characteristics[citation needed]
City, location   latitude   Session probability = 0.9 Waiting time Session probability = 0.8 Waiting time Session probability = 0.7 Waiting time
Meru, Kenya 25.04 min 19.98 min 13.54 min
Fuli, Vietnam / Vitoria, Brazil 20° / −20° 19.47 min 14.97 min 8.85 min
Yerevan, Armenia / Wellington, New Zealand 40° / −40° 17.79 min 12.04 min 6.08 min
Belgorod, Russia / Isla Duque de York, Chile 50° / −50° 15.00 min 8.19 min 2.17 min
Vyborg, Russia / Orcadas Antarctic Station 60° / −60° 5.64 min 1.78 min 0.00 min
Kara Gate Straight, Barents Sea / Novolazarevskaya Station, Antarctic 70° / −70° 3.45 min 0.00 min 0.00 min
Gall Island, North Arctic Ocean / Antarctic Kunlun Station 80° / −80° 0.00 min 0.00 min 0.00 min
North Pole / Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station 90° / −90° 0.00 min 0.00 min 0.00 min

Technical characteristics of subscriber terminals 0.3–0.4 GHz

Transmitter power 8–10 W
Positioning accuracy by GPS/GLONASS up to 10 m
Modulation GMSK
Power supply AC 220 V, DC 12 V
Weight 100–300 g
Bitrates: "Subscriber – Satellite" 2.4–9.6 kbit/s
Bitrates: "Satellite – Subscriber" 9.6–76.8 kbit/s

See also


  1. ^ "GONETS". Small Satellites Home Page. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. Archived from the original on 9 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b Wade, Mark. "Strela". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 26 May 2008.
  3. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "Gonets". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  4. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "Gonets-M". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Leosat system "Gonets"". Gonets SatCom. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008.
  6. ^ "Investors - GONETS Leosat system". gonets.ru. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016.
  7. ^ ""Гонца" отправили в "Роскосмос"" [Messenger has been sent to Roscosmos] (in Russian). Kommersant. 19 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Акционер достиг "Гонца"" [A shareholder has reached the Messenger] (in Russian). Kommersant. 23 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Источник сообщил о планируемом запуске спутников "Гонец-М" ракетой "Рокот"" [Source informed about planned launch of Gonets satellites on Rokot] (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2021.