Russian weather satelliteIn March 2011, Elektro-L satellite captured this view of the Moon over the Red Sea region of the Earth.

Russian weather satellite

At present, effective reaching of the goals of meteorology is impossible without use of data supplied by Earth remote sensing satellites. One of such valuable assets is a network of satellites positioned at the Geostationary orbit. The World’s Meteorological Organization superwises international network of GEO weather sensing satellites, which is formed by American GOES constellation satellites, European Meteosat, Russian GOMS №1/Elektro №1 (non-functional since 1998), and Japanese GMS. Also, there are Indian Insat and Metsat, and Chinese FY-2 weather sensing satellites at GEO.

The Electro-L satellite is Russia’s second high-altitude weather observatory, coming after a troubled mission launched in 1994 that never achieved all of its goals The next-generation Electro-L program faced years of delays because of interruptions in funding. The Electro-L spacecraft will function for up to 10 years, collecting weather imagery several times per hour with visible and infrared cameras. The satellite’s position in geosynchronous orbit will yield views the entire Earth disk, allowing its weather sensors to observe storm systems across a wide swath of Asia, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean. Electro-L 1 will be parked at 76 degrees east longitude, appearing fixed over a point in the Indian Ocean. The satellite will also study space weather phenomena and provide communications for search-and-rescue services. It carries nearly 1,000 pounds (454 kg) of scientific and communications equipment. The Electro-L project joins an international network of geosynchronous weather satellites, which includes missions led by the United States, Europe, Japan, China and India. Electro-L 1 is also named GOMS No. 2, short for Geostationary Operational Meteorological Satellite.

[russianspaceweb] Image Credit: NPO Lavochkin

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