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IET Milsatcoms Online: 9-12 March 2021

RSS to provide digital communication with the ISS via Russian satellites

(25 November 2020 - Roscosmos) Russian Space Systems Holding (RSS, part of Roscosmos) has upgraded the Klen-R command and measurement system, which is used to communicate with the Soyuz MS, Progress MS transport spacecraft and the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

Klen-R with a broadband communication system will allow switching to high-speed digital video communication with the crew and will quadruple the radio visibility area of the ISS Russian segment.

Today, Orion ground complexes are used to communicate with the station, the reception area of which is limited to the territory of Russia, and the time for receiving a television image in analog format is no more than 20 minutes per orbit. To switch over to digital information exchange, RSS specialists have equipped the Klen-R with a broadband communication system modem. The modified system is now undergoing experimental testing at Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (part of Roscosmos).

Sergey Karasev, Head of the Sector of the Department for Creation of Ground Stations of Command and Measurement Systems: ‘The use of a broadband communication system will provide communication with the International Space Station through domestic satellites-repeaters of the Luch system, including outside the Russian territory. Thanks to this improvement, it will be possible to contact the crew within more than 80% of the daily time due to the increase in the radio visibility zone.’

Vladimir Denezhkin, RSS Deputy General Designer for Ground Systems and Complexes: ‘Thanks to the broadband communication system and the use of Klen-R ground stations, Russia will be able to switch to the domestic Luch relay system. The system will ensure technological independence from the previously used TDRSS American satellite relay system. By modernizing the Klen-R stations and increasing the radio visibility zone, the specialists will receive more telemetric information, also the time for decision making will increase.’

The Klen-R command and measurement system was developed by RSS in 2010. Now Klen-R ground stations operate in Moscow, Zheleznogorsk and at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The system is designed to control and exchange information with spacecraft for scientific and socio-economic purposes, crewed space complexes, orbital stations, upper stages through the relay satellites of the Luch multifunctional space relay system.