EKS (satellite system)

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EKS (Edinaya Kosmicheskaya Systema)
ManufacturerRKK Energia (bus) and TsNII Kometa (payload.)[1]
Country of origin Russia[1]
OperatorRussian Space Forces
ApplicationsEarly warning of missile attack
BusPossibly USP (Victoria)[1]
PowerDeployable solar arrays
EquipmentMilitary early warning system and a reported secure emergency communications payload to be used in case of a nuclear war.[1]
RegimeMolniya orbits
StatusDeployment, first satellite EKS-1 launched in November 2015.[2][3]
On order3
Maiden launchEKS 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] and as of September 2019 there are three in service.[6]


EKS is designed as a replacement for the current system of early warning satellites called Oko, which had its first launch in 1972 [7]:36[8] and was described in 2005 as "hopelessly outdated".[9] Oko has two types of satellites: US-KMO are in geosynchronous orbits and have an infrared telescope to identify ballistic missile launches.[10] US-K are in Molniya orbits and are an earlier model with optical telescopes and infrared sensors.[11] The Oko system has two control centres with the main one being Serpukhov-15 outside Moscow.[7]:40[7]:52

Oko is part of the Main Centre for Missile Attack Warning[12] which is under the Space Command (KK) of the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.[13]

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.[14] 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][15] 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.[16] In 2009 it was reported to be delayed until late 2011/early 2012.[17] 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.[18] According to news reports Energia said that the contract extension was valid and that the problem was with their subcontractors.[18] In addition they said that the Russian MoD kept changing the specification and demanding things that were beyond the capabilities of the industry.[18] 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.[16]

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.[19] The last satellites of the previous Oko system were Kosmos 2479,[20] launched on 30 March 2012, and Kosmos 2469, launched on 30 September 2010.[21]

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] and as of September 2019 there are three in service.[6]


Satellite[1] COSPAR international designator NORAD catalog # Orbit Launch Date End Date Estimated Operational Life
Kosmos 2510 (EKS 1) (Tundra 11L) 2015-066A 41032 Molniya[22] 38,552 x 1,626 km, 63.37º 17 November 2015 Active
Kosmos 2518 (EKS 2) (Tundra 12L) 2017-027A 42719 Molniya[23] 38,552 x 1,626 km, 63.37º 25 May 2017 Active[24]
Kosmos 2541 (EKS 3) (Tundra 13L) 2019-065A 44552 Molniya[6] 38,537 x 1,646 km, 63.83º 26 September 2019 Active


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "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. Russian and Chinese Responses to US Military Plans in Space (PDF). Cambridge, Massachusetts: American Academy of Arts and Sciences. ISBN 978-0-87724-068-6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  6. ^ a b c "Russia orbits missile-detection satellite". www.russianspaceweb.com. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  7. ^ 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. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/08929880212328. ISSN 0892-9882. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-15.
  8. ^ Zak, Anatoly (April 18, 2012). "Oko early-warning satellite". Russianspaceweb.com. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  9. ^ Podvig, Pavel (November 21, 2005). "Hopelessly outdated". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  10. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "US-KMO (71Kh6)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  11. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "US-KS (74Kh6)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  12. ^ Podvig, Pavel (2012-01-30). "Early Warning". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Structure". Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. n.d. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  14. ^ Pavel, Podvig (2014-07-19). "New-generation early-warning satellite, Tundra, to be launched in 2014". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  15. ^ "Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket successfully launches Tundra satellite". SpaceflightInsider.com. Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  16. ^ a b Podvig, Pavel (August 18, 2011). "New generation early-warning satellite turned up in court". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  17. ^ Podvig, Pavel (April 29, 2009). "Early-warning satellites - old and new". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ "Oko Satellite successfully delivered to Orbit". Spaceflight 101. 2012-03-30. Archived from the original on 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  21. ^ Pavel, Podvig (2012-03-30). "Cosmos-2479 - new geostationary early warning satellite". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  22. ^ "Russia's 1st EKS Missile Warning Satellite enters surprising Orbit". Spaceflight 101. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Russia's Soyuz launches EKS Missile Warning Satellite, ends Year-Long Military Launch Gap". Spaceflight 101. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
  24. ^ http://bmpd.livejournal.com/2628699.html

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