EKS (satellite system)

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EKS (Edinaya Kosmicheskaya Systema)
Manufacturer RKK Energia (bus) and TsNII Kometa (payload.)[1]
Country of origin  Russia[1]
Operator Russian Aerospace Defence Forces
Applications Early warning of missile attack
Bus Possibly USP (Victoria)[1]
Power Deployable solar arrays
Batteries Yes
Equipment Military early warning system and a reported secure emergency communications payload to be used in case of a nuclear war.[1]
Regime Tundra orbits
Status Deployment, first satellite EKS-1 launched in November 2015.[2][3]
Built 1
On order 5
Launched 1
Retired 0
First launch EKS 1 / Tundra-L11, November 17, 2015[2]

EKS (reportedly standing for Russian: Единая космическая система, tr. Edinaya Kosmicheskaya Sistema meaning Unified Space System[4]) (GRAU designation: 14F142) is a developing[2][3] programme of Russian early warning satellites as a replacement for the US-KMO and US-K satellites of the Oko programme.[5]:7 These satellites identify ballistic missile launches from outer space and complement early warning radars such as the Voronezh. This gives advance notice of a nuclear attack and would provide information to the A-135 missile defence system which protects Moscow, as well as other Russian missile defense and counterattack resources. Six satellites are planned to be initially orbited.[1] The first of them was launched on November 17, 2015.[2]


EKS is designed as a replacement for the current system of early warning satellites called Oko, which had its first launch in 1972 [6]:36[7] and was described in 2005 as "hopelessly outdated".[8] Oko has two types of satellites: US-KMO are in geosynchronous orbits and have an infrared telescope to identify ballistic missile launches.[9] US-K are in molniya orbits and are an earlier model with optical telescopes and infrared sensors.[10] The Oko system has two control centres with the main one being Serpukhov-15 outside Moscow. [6]:40[6]:52

Oko is part of the Main Centre for Missile Attack Warning[11] which is under the Space Command (KK) of the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.[12]

In 2014 Kommersant published that the first satellite, of a type named Tundra, would be launched in 2014. According to that report they would operate on highly elliptical orbits. The satellite was not launched in 2014, however.[13] It was eventually launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on 17 November 2015, using a Soyuz 2.1b rocket with a Fregat stage, under the name EKS-1 / Tundra-11L.[2][3] Until 2020, five more satellites are planned to be orbited.[1]


Information on the new EKS system is scarce but it appears that it was designed by Energia Corp in 1999-2000 and was selected against a proposal from Oko manufacturer NPO Lavochkin.[4] The Russian Ministry of Defence awarded the contract to Energia in 2007 with an expected delivery date of 2008, for a test launch in 2009.[14] In 2009 it was reported to be delayed until late 2011/early 2012.[15] In 2011 the Russian MoD sued Energia for the delay, claiming that a contract extension issued until May 2010 was invalid and asking for 262 million rubles in compensation.[16] According to news reports Energia said that the contract extension was valid and that the problem was with their subcontractors.[16] In addition they said that the Russian MoD kept changing the specification and demanding things that were beyond the capabilities of the industry.[16] The Russian MoD lost the court case. Energia delivered a satellite in 2009 but as of April 2012 there had not been a test launch.[14]

In April 2012 minister Alexander Sukhorukov announced that a contract had been signed to manufacture these satellites and that there would be a launch later in 2012.[17] The last satellites of the previous Oko system were Kosmos 2479,[18] launched on 30 March 2012, and Kosmos 2469, launched on 30 September 2010.[19]

The first EKS satellite (Kosmos 2510, EKS-1, Tundra 11L) was eventually launched from Plesetsk on November 17, 2015 using a Soyuz-2.1b rocket.[2]


Satellite COSPAR international designator NORAD catalog # Orbit Launch Date End Date Estimated Operational Life
Kosmos 2510 (EKS 1) (Tundra 11L) 2015-066A 41032 Tundra 38,552 x 1,626 km, 63.37º 17 November 2015 Active

See also[edit]

  • Tundra orbit, the orbit to be used by the Tundra / EKS satellites

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Gunter's Space Page - Tundra (EKS, 14F142)". Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Soyuz 2-1B launches EKS-1 to upgrade Russian Early Warning System". Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  3. ^ a b c "Russia to Launch First Satellite for New Space Defense Network in November". Retrieved 2015-06-30. 
  4. ^ a b Podvig, Pavel (August 22, 2007). "Russia is working on new early-warning satellites". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Podvig, Pavel; Zuang, Hui (2008). Russian and Chinese Responses to US Military Plans in Space (PDF). Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences. ISBN 0-87724-068-X. 
  6. ^ a b c Podvig, Pavel (2002). "History and the Current Status of the Russian Early-Warning System" (PDF). Science and Global Security. 10: 21–60. doi:10.1080/08929880212328. ISSN 0892-9882. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2012-03-15. 
  7. ^ Zak, Anatoly (April 18, 2012). "Oko early-warning satellite". Russianspaceweb.com. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  8. ^ Podvig, Pavel (November 21, 2005). "Hopelessly outdated". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "US-KMO (71Kh6)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "US-KS (74Kh6)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Podvig, Pavel (2012-01-30). "Early Warning". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Structure". Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. n.d. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  13. ^ Pavel, Podvig (2014-07-19). "New-generation early-warning satellite, Tundra, to be launched in 2014". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 2015-02-10. 
  14. ^ a b Podvig, Pavel (August 18, 2011). "New generation early-warning satellite turned up in court". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Podvig, Pavel (April 29, 2009). "Early-warning satellites - old and new". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c Safronov Jr, Ivan (August 17, 2011). "Военные проиграли космический иск космической корпорации" [The military lost a space corporation space suit]. Kommersant. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "Минобороны РФ заключило контракты на создание спутников для отслеживания ракетных запусков" [Defence ministry signed contracts to build satellites to track missile launches]. ITAR-TASS. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "Oko Satellite successfully delivered to Orbit". Spaceflight 101. 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  19. ^ Pavel, Podvig (2012-03-30). "Cosmos-2479 - new geostationary early warning satellite". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 2012-04-17.