NAUKA Automated Satellite

In 1968, for carrying out scientific experiments and verifying various systems, units, and modules of prospective spacecraft under conditions of space flight, the versatile Nauka satellite was developed. The satellite was able to accommodate on board different scientific and applied hardware. The Institute of Space Research of the Academy of Sciences was appointed as the prime customer, and the Progress Plant as the manufacturer.

The satellite represented an automated canister. Спутник представлял собой автономный герметичный контейнер. The scientific hardware could be accommodates both inside and outside the canister. The structure of scientific equipment could change essentially depending on the objectives and tasks of research conducted on each particular satellite.

The scientific information was transmitted to the Earth by a telemetric channel. The satellite was 550-560 kg in weight. The weight of scientific hardware was up to 400 kg. After performance of the research program, the automated satellite separated from the basic spacecraft and burnt down in the atmosphere.

Creation of the Nauka satellite enabled to conduct complicated research and experiments, as well as to receive unique scientific information.

The galactic gamma-ray spectrum has been studied, 40 per sent of the celestial sphere has been examined, over 10 thousand of gamma-ray quantum transmission events have been registered, gamma counting rates in the high latitude and equatorial region have been received, a wade range of technical tasks concerning the use of integrated circuits under space-flight conditions have been solved. Such experiments were first set in the USSR.

Intensity and energy spectrum of gamma radiation of 300-2000 MeV energy region have been studied. These data had been used in the world science practice for more than 10 years. Thermal radiation of the Earth and many other issues have been studied. More than 44 Nauka satellites have been successfully launched during the period from 1968 to 1979.

The advent of space engineering enabled the pass from indirect methods of circumterrestrial space research to direct methods providing a new phase of science development.*

* The article was written based on the materials taken from book - Spacecraft building:research and development by TsSKB-Progress/ edited by A.N.Kirilin- Samara: Publishing House, AGNI, 2011-p.280.