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, and were designated Gonets-D. The first operational satellites, designated Gonets-D1, were launched on 19 February 1996. After launch, the first three satellites were given military Kosmos designations, a practice which was not continued with the other satellites.
|Manufacturer||NPO Prikladnoi Mekhaniki|
|Country of origin||Russia|
|Operator||Gonets SatCom (1996-present)|
|Launch mass||233 to 280 kg|
|Power||40 watts from solar panels|
|Equipment||UHF transponders |
(B-band / D-band)
Data rate up to 64 kbit/s
|Regime||Low Earth orbit|
|Design life||5 years (planned)|
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. A second Gonets-D1M satellite was launched by a Rokot launch vehicle on 8 September 2010.