Minimize Meteor-M-1


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The Meteor-M-1 (also referred to as Meteor-M N1) satellite is a Roskosmos/Roshydromet/Planeta (Moscow, Russia) follow-up polar-orbiting meteorological mission to Meteor-3M-1 (launch Dec. 10, 2001). The organization responsible for the acquisition, recording, processing, archiving, cataloging, and dissemination of space data is NTs OMZ (Research Center for Earth Operative Monitoring), Moscow.

The overall objectives of the Meteor-M-1 mission are to provide operational meteorological services: 1)

1) To acquire multispectral imagery in the visible range as well as radar imagery of the Earth's surface and to obtain measurements of the Earth-atmosphere system in various bands of the energy spectrum in terms of absolute energy values

2) To acquire information of the Sun-Earth system (solar wind parameters)

3) To perform a data collection function from independent measuring platforms in the ground segment.

The data acquired from the Meteor-M spacecraft is being used to solve the following main tasks:

• Regional and global weather analysis and prediction, including climate and global change monitoring

• Analysis and prediction of ocean surface-water states

• Analysis and prediction of the space weather (solar wind, ionospheric interaction, Earth's magnetic field, etc.).


Figure 1: Illustration of the Meteor-M-1 spacecraft (image credit: Roshydromet/Planeta)


The spacecraft platform used is being built by VNIIEM of Moscow as prime contractor to Roskosmos. It's heritage is of the Resurs-O1 spacecraft series and is now being referred to as Resurs-USP. The spacecraft is three-axis stabilized. Attitude sensing is being provided with a star tracker, referred to as BOKZ-M. The S/C pointing accuracy is 0.1º, the angular drift rate is 0.0005º/s. A navigation subsystem (GPS/GLONASS receiver) provides orbit determination and timing services.

The BOKZ-M star tracker is of Resurs-DK1 (launch June 15, 2006) heritage. The BOKZ family instrument is a monoblock with the digital TV camera based on a CCD array detector, a signal processor based computer and a secondary power supply unit. The instrument is providing a pointing accuracy of 2 / 20 arcsec (x, y / z), the attitude data is updated at a frequency of 0.3 Hz, the instrument has a mass of 4 kg, power consumption of 11.2 W, and a size of 37 cm x 23 cm x 23 cm.

Solar power of 2 kW (BOL) is provided by two deployed panels which are continuously sun pointed for optimum power generation (solar panel area of 23 m2, solar array span of 14 m).

The S/C mass is ~ 2900 kg (payload mass of ~ 1250 kg). The S/C design life is 5 years with a goal of additional service provision. 2) 3) 4) 5)

RF communications: Use of LRIT (Low Rate Information Transmission) and HRIT (High Rate Information Transmission) communication standards according to WMO (World Meteorological Organization) to permit data exchange on an international level.


X-band data transmission

8025-8400 MHz


Nominal carrier frequency

8128 (T1); 8320 (T2) MHz


Data transmission rate

15.36, 30.72, 61.44, or 122.88 Mbit/s


Transmitter output power

10 W


Data modulation type

RFM, DRFM (Digital Radio Frequency Memory)


L-band data transmission

1.69 - 1.71 GHz


Nominal carrier frequency

1.7 GHz


Data transmission rate

665.4 kbit/s


Transmitter output power

5 W


Modulation type

PSK (Phase-Shift Keying)


VHF-band data transmission

137-138 MHz (MSU-MR bands in LRPT format)


Onboard data collection and transmission system from DCPs (Data Collection Platforms)


No of DCPs in visibility zone, common

150, < 500


Message volume

250 bit


Data transmission rate

1200 or 400 bit/s


Location accuracy of DCP

3.6 km (for one session)


Total volume of stored data for one orbital revolution

300 kByte


Data reception frequency from DCPs

401.2-402.0 MHz (UHF band)


Data transmission from S/C to ground

1690-1710 MHz (L-band)

Table 1: Overview of communication links


Figure 2: The Meteor-M-1 spacecraft with its instrument designations (image credit: Roskosmos, Roshydromet/Planeta)


Launch: The Meteor-M-1 spacecraft was launched on Sept. 17, 2009 on a Soyuz-2.1b/Fregat vehicle from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. -- The mission was initially planned to be launched in 2007 but was postponed several times.

The six secondary payloads on this flight were: 6) 7)

• Tatiana-2, also spelling of Tatyana-2 (Universitetskiy, 100 kg), a microsatellite of the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), Moscow

• Sterkh-2 (a microsatellite of ~ 171 kg), will serve as Cospas-12 in the COSPAS-S&RSAT search & rescue network.. Sterkh-2 was built by PO Polyot.

• UGATUSat (a microsatellite of 30 kg) of Ufa State Aviation Technical University (UGATU), Russia, built by PO Polyot.

• ZASat-002 (SumbandilaSat, a microsatellite of 82 kg) of SunSpace, South Africa.

• BLITS (Ball Lens In the Space), a nanosatellite of 7.53 kg (sphere, reflector). BLITS was developed and manufactured by the IPIE center, under a 2006 agreement between Roskosmos and International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS). The purpose of the mission is experimental verification of the spherical glass retroreflector satellite concept.

• IRIS , an experimental unit attached to the Fregat upper stage, built be NPO Lavochkin and designed to test an inflatable and solidifying material in space.

Note: The Fregat upper stage can deliver only an even number of piggyback satellites.

Orbit: Sun-synchronous near-circular orbit, mean altitude of 832 km, inclination = 98.85º, period of 101.3 minutes, local equatorial crossing time at 12:00 hours.
Note: The launch vehicle placed the ZA-002/SumbandilaSat spacecraft into an orbit of 510 km altitude.


Figure 3: Photo of Meteor-M-1 in launch configuration (Roskosmos, Roshydromet/Planeta)



Mission status:

• April 2014: The Meteor-M1 spacecraft is still operated by Roshydromet; however, with limitations due to some instruments failures. The current status of the basic instruments: 8)

- MSU-MR instrument is functional with limitations (calibration issues and large noise level in the IR channels)

- MTVZA-GY instrument is functional with limitations due to failures of on-board memory and atmospheric sounding channels

- KMSS instrument is fully functional

- Severjanin instrument is non-operational

- DCS is functional with limitations due to interferences to signals from ground sources

- LRPT transmission is functional with limitations due to information compression errors

- GGAK-M is operational with significant limitations.

• In 2012, the Meteor-M1 spacecraft and its payload are operating nominally. 9)

• In the spring of 2010, the Meteor-M-1 spacecraft status is referred to as 'experimental operation.' 10)

• October 7, 2009: during flight testing of the spacecraft Meteor-M-1, the GGAK-M heliogeophysical complex was switched on by NTs OMZ. The GGAK-M equipment operated nominally.

• The first switching on of onboard equipment on the Meteor-M-1 spacecraft was carried out on Oct. 1 and 2, 2009. Reception and processing of KMSS imagery was carried out at NTc OMZ of Roskosmos, which operates the spacecraft Meteor-M-1. 11)

• Sept. 23, 2009: The Meteor-M-1 spacecraft is in the early checkout phase. 12)



Sensor complement: (MSU-MR, Severyanin, KMSS, MTVZA, GGAK-M, DCS)

MSU-MR (Low-resolution Multispectral Scanner)

MSU-MR was designed and developed by FSUE/RISDE (Federal State Unitary Enterprise) / Russian Scientific Institute of Space Device Engineering), Moscow. Objective: Global and regional cloud cover mapping, SST (Sea Surface Temperature), and LST (Land Surface Temperature). The optomechanical MSU-MR instrument provides imagery in six bands in the VIS and IR spectral regions (similar in performance and function to the AVHRR/3 instrument on the POES missions of NOAA) with a spatial resolution of 1 km.



Band No 1 (VIS= Visible)

0.50 ± 0.2 - 0.70 ± 0.2 µm

Band No 2 (VNIR=Visible Near Infrared)

0.70 ± 0.2 - 1.10 ± 0.2 µm

Band No 3 (SWIR= Short Wave Infrared)

1.60 ±0.50 - 1.80 ± 0.50 µm

Band No 4 (MWIR= Mid Wave Infrared)

3.50 ± 0.50 - 4.10 ± 0.50 µm

Band No 5 (TIR = Thermal Infrared)

10.5 ± 0.50 - 11.5 ± 0.50 µm

Band No 6 (TIR = Thermal Infrared)

11.5 ± 0.50 - 12.5 ± 0.50 µm

Scanning geometry-plane, scanning angle

108º, 54º

Swath width

2800 km

Angular resolution in all spectral channels

1.2 +0.2 mrad

Spatial resolution at nadir

1 km

SNR in bands 1 and 2, in band 3

≥ 200, ≥ 100

Overall relative measurement error of radiance in bands 1-3


Range of radiation temperature measured in bands 4-6

213-313 K

NEDT (Noise Equivalent Differential Temperature) at 300 K
- Band 4
- Band 5
- Band 6

≤ 1 K
≤ 0.2 K
≤ 0.2 K

Overall absolute measurement error at 333 K in bands 4-6

0.5 K

Data quantization

10 bit


Use of onboard calibration sources

Data rate

660 kbit/s

Operational mode


Instrument mass

≤ 70 kg

Table 2: Key performance parameters of the MSU-MR instrument


Figure 4: Illustration of MSU-MR instrument (image credit: FSUE/RSIDE)


Severyanin OBRC (Onboard Radar Complex)

The small size radar Severyanin-M (translation from Russian - "Northerner") is a part of the on-board hardware of the spacecraft Meteor-M series designed and developed by the Research Institute of Precise Instruments, Moscow, Russia. Serveryanin-M is an X-band side-looking radar instrument providing vertical polarization. The main objective is sea ice monitoring in the polar regions, but the radar imagery can also be used for land surface observation, for vegetation monitoring, and a number of other applications. The system consists of two main components: the antenna subsystem and the electric unit. The radar antenna consists of seven segments, six of which are deployed after launch with the central segment attached to the zenith-pointing deck of the satellite. The instrument has a mass of 150 kg and requires 1 kW of power when in operation, the source data rate is 10 kbit/s. 13)

The OBRC instrument operates at a center frequency of 9.623 GHz and an incidence angle range of 25 -48º. A 450 to 600 km ground swath is covered by the radar, depending on the observation mode as it can operate in low and medium resolution mode. In low resolution mode, the radar reaches a ground resolution of 700-1,000 m while the medium resolution mode leads to images with a spatial resolution of 400-500 m.



Center frequency (X-band, 3.1 cm wavelength)

9.623 GHz

Incidence angle access range


Swath width

450-600 km

Spatial resolution in medium resolution mode

400-500 m

Spatial resolution in low resolution mode

700-1000 m

Source data rate

10 Mbit/s

Table 3: Specification of the OBRC instrument

The radar uses an uncontrolled antenna array, klystron transmitter, digital receiver and special digital device for forming the sounding signals, the echoed signals prefiltering and matching to the radiolink. It has embedded facilities for inner amplitude calibration. In addition there is possibility to change parameters of the sounding signal and some other radar parameters through the command radio-link from the Earth.

The spacecraft specifics dictated restrictions on the following radar characteristics:

- radar power consumption: not more than 1 kW

- radar mass: not more than 150 kg (including the antenna mass – not more 40 kg)

- data transfer rate of the radio-link used: not more than 10 kbit/s.


KMSS (Multispectral Scanning Imaging System)

KMSS was designed and developed at IKI (Space Research Institute), Moscow. The objective is Earth surface monitoring. The instrument comprises three pushbroom cameras in the VNIR range; two cameras (MSU-100) have a focal length of 100 mm; the third one (MSU-50), has a focal length of 50 mm. The two MSU-100 cameras are tilted ±14º in cross-track to each side of nadir; together they cover a swath width of 960 km, which is close to the swath of MSU-50. 14)

Each camera has a focal plane with 3 CCD lines (each covered with a corresponding filter) behind a common lens. The three-line camera system (with 3 CCD-lines in a focal plane and 1 lens, the corresponding detector elements of different bands look necessarily in different along-track directions) provides the following along-track observation directions: ±17º and 0º (nadir) for MSU-50, and ±8.7º and 0º for MSU-100. The KMSS instrument represents simply the mounting fixture of three separate cameras, and the KMSS image will be an image of 3 separate cameras put together in ground processing.



Swath width (2 MSU-100, 1 MSU-50)

960 km (cumulative of 2 cameras), 940 km

FOV (Field of View) in cross-track direction

31º, 62º

Spatial resolution

60 m (MSU-100)
120 m (MSU-50)

Total No of spectral bands


Spectral bands (µm) of MSU-100
Spectral bands (µm) of MSU-50

0.535-0.575; 0.630-0.680; 0,760-,900;
0.37-0.45; 0.45-0.51; 0.58-0.69

No of CCD elements in cross-track


Data quantization

8 bit

SNR for bright objects (clouds at high sun elevation)


Source data rate per band

9.8 Mbit/s

Source data rate of 1 camera system, 2 camera system

~30 Mbit/s, ~60 Mbit/s

MSU-100 mass, power
MSU-50 mass, power

2.9 kg, 6.8 W (peak power consumption)
2.3 kg, 6.8 W (peak power consumption)

MSU-100 size

210 x 200 x 200 mm (the last size - along the optical axis)

MSU-50 size

210 x 200 x 140 mm (the last size - along the optical axis)

Table 4: Specification of the KMSS instrument


Figure 5: Illustration of the KMSS cameras (MSU-50 at center and the 2 MSU-100), image credit: IKI, Roshydromet/Planeta


MTVZA-GY (Microwave Imaging/Sounding Radiometer)

MTVZA-GY was designed and developed at the Space Observations Center, Moscow, under contract to Roskosmos. The instrument is of MTVZA heritage flown on the Meteor-3M-1 mission (launch Dec. 10, 2001). MTVZA-GY is a passive 29-channel microwave radiometer - similar to the SSMIS (Special Sensor Microwave Imager Sounder) of the DMSP-F16 mission, as well as to NOAA's AMSU-A (Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A) and -B radiometers. Note: MTVZA-GY was named in memory of Gennady Ya Gus'kov (1919-2002, Moscow) - the Russian designer of various spaceborne instruments.

The objective of the MTVZA-GY instrument is to monitor ocean and land surfaces as well as global atmospheric parameters such as temperature and water vapor profiles and to obtain sea surface wind profiles. MTVZA-GY is a conical scanning instrument with a common field of view for imaging and sounding channels (simultaneous multispectral and polarization measurements), due to the single antenna design.

The operating frequencies are located in the transparent atmospheric windows at 10.6, 18.7, 23.8, 31.5, 36.7, 42, 48, and 91.65 GHz, as well as in the oxygen absorption lines at 52-57 GHz and water vapor at 183.31 GHz. 15) 16)

The instrument consists of a large rotating main reflector and an Instrument Support Structure facilitating the RF electronics and sensors as well as the spin mechanism and support systems. MTVZA-GY has a mass of 90 kg, requires 80 W of power and has a data rate of 35 kbit/s. The operating frequencies of the instrument cover the transparent atmospheric range, the oxygen absorption lines and the water vapor absorption range.


Figure 6: Illustration of the MTVZA-GY instrument (image credit: Roskosmos Roshydromet/Planeta)

Observation geometry: MTVZA-GY is a conical-scanning radiometer rotating continuously about an axis parallel to the local spacecraft vertical with a period of 2.5 s. The view direction of the instrument is backwards (anti-velocity direction) with a viewing angle of 53.3º and an incidence angle of 65º (with respect the the surface). The scan direction is from the left to the right when looking in the aft direction of the spacecraft, with the active scene measurements in the range from -90º to +15º about the aft direction, resulting in a swath width of 1500 km.

Observation region


Range of measurements



Surface wind velocity

Ice: age (gradations)
- concentration
- boundary

3-40 m/s

±1.0 K
±2 m/s
16 km


Temperature profile
Column humidity

up to 45 km
0-5 g/cm2

±1.5 K
±0.25 g/cm2

- total amount, balls
- water content
- dynamics
- effect. temperature

0-5 kg/m2

±0.2 kg/cm2

±3.0 K

Rain rate

0-25 mm/h

±5.0 mm/h


Thickness of dry snow
Boundary of snow

up to 1.5 m

±0.2 m
±16 km

Table 5: Geophysical parameters derived from MTVZA-GY

Channel No

Center Frequency (GHz)

No of Passbands

Bandwidth (MHz)

Effective FOV
(km x km)

Pixel size (km x km)

Sensitivity (K/pixel)

Approx. peak sensitivity altitude (km)





89 x 198

32 x 32







52 x 16

32 x 32







42 x 94

32 x 32







35 x 76

32 x 32







30 x 67

32 x 32







26 x 60

32 x32







24 x 43

32 x 32







21 x 48

48 x 48







21 x48

48 x 48







21 x 48

48 x 48







21 x 48

48 x 48







21 x 48

48 x 48







21 x 48

48 x 48







21 x 48

48 x 48







21 x 48

48 x 48







21 x 48

48 x 48







21 x 48

48 x 48







14 x 30

16 x 16







9 x 21

32 x 32







9 x 21

32 x 32







9 x 21

32 x 32



Table 6: Channel characteristics of MTVZA-GY

All instrument channels are switched to four feed-horn antennas. MTVZA-GY employs a total-power radiometer design providing a better sensitivity (factor 2) over a conventional Dicke-switched system. The channels in the 10-48 GHz domain are direct amplification radiometers, while the channels in the 52-57, 91 and 183 GHz range are realized as as superheterodyne receivers using balanced mixers. The performance parameters are given in Tables 6 and 7. The following comment applies to Table 7:

• Channels 1-7 and 18 operate on both vertical and horizontal polarization

• Channels 13-17 operate on horizontal polarization only. - Hence, the total number of MTVZA-GY channels amounts to 29.

The antenna system of MTVZA-GY consists of an offset parabolic reflector of dimension 65 cm, illuminated by the four broadband feed-horn antennas. The antenna and radiometers are mounted on a drum for the purpose to provide an invariant viewing and polarization geometry for the reflector scan. The drum contains the various system components like digital data subsystem, power and the signal transfer assembly, which rotates continuously about an axis parallel to the local spacecraft vertical. The power, commands, all data, timing and telemetry signals pass through slip ring connectors to the rotating assembly.

Hot and cold reference absorbers are used for calibration. They are mounted on the non-rotating part of the instrument and are positioned such that they pass between the feed-horns and the parabolic reflector, occulting the feed-horns once on each scan. The temperature difference between the hot and cold target is expected to be 50-60 K.

Spatial resolution (km)

16-198 (horizonal); 1.5 - 7 (vertical)

Conical scanning period

2.55 s

Viewing angle


Incident angle


Swath width

1500 km

Instrument mass, power

90 kg, 80 W

Data rate, data quantization

35 kbit/s; 16 bit

Table 7: Performance characteristics of MTVZA-GY


Figure 7: Scanning geometry of the MTVZA-GY radiometer (image credit: Roshydromet)


GGAK-M (Geophysical Monitoring System Komplex)

The geophysical Monitoring Complex consists of two instruments: 1) MSGI-MKA (Spectrometer for Geoactive Measurements), and 2) KGI-4C (Radiation Monitoring System).

The MSGI-MKA instrument features four channels for the measurement of the following parameters:

• Electron fluxes in the energy range of 0.1-15 keV (high-sensitivity channel)

• Ion (proton) fluxes in the energy range of 0.1-15 keV (high-sensitivity channel)

• Electron fluxes in the energy range of 0.1-15 keV (low-sensitivity channel)

• Monitoring of integral electron fluxes with a threshold energy of 40 keV

The FOV (Field of View) is 10º x 10º for each channel (3) and 20º x 20º for the integral electron flux. The instrument has a mass of 5 kg and a power consumption of 6.8 W.

KGI-4C (Radiation Monitoring System). The objective is to monitor flux densities within the following threshold energy ranges:

• Total proton flux threshold energy of: 5, 15, 25, 30, and 40 MeV

• Total electron flux threshold energy of: 0.17, 0.7, 1.7, 2.0 and 3.2 MeV

• Proton fluxes with threshold energies of: 25 and 90 MeV

The KGI-4C instrument has a mass of 12 kg and a power consumption of 6.8 W (max).


DCS (Data Collection System)

The objective is to collect in-situ data from DCPs (Data Collection Platforms) in the ground segment with location capability.

No description available.



Ground segment

SRC (Space Research Center) "Planeta" of Moscow is the key organization of the CGS, (Core Ground Segment) that carries out all the main functions of the Meteor-M-1 mission - control, acquisition, processing, archiving, and dissemination of data, provided by Russian and foreign satellite systems.

• 3 Main centers:Europe (Moscow-Obninsk-Dolgoprudny)

• Siberia (Novosibirsk)

• Far-East (Khabarovsk)

In addition, there are 68 local centers.


Figure 8: Geographic map with the satellite ground segment (image credit: RSC Planeta)

1) Y. V. Trifonov, A. V. Gorbunov, V. F. Kharitonov, “S/C “Meteor-M” - a new stage of the operating meteorological space system,” Proceedings of the 31st International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment, Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 20-24, 2005

2) A. B. Uspensky, “Status of current and future Roshydrometsatellite programmes,” ITSC-16 (16th International TOVS Study Conference), Angra dos Reis, Brazil, May 07 –13, 2008, URL:

3) V. V. Asmus, V. N. Dyaduchenko, O. E. Milekhin, A. B. Uspensky, “Remote Sensing Products and Applications: Roshydromet Program,” EUMETSAT Meteorological Satellite Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia, Sept. 19-23, 2005, URL:





8) “Report on the status of current and future Russian satellite systems,” CGMS (Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites)-42 ROSH/ROSCWP-01, 25 April 2014, URL:


10) Information provided by Boris Zhukov of IKI, Moscow



13) Sergey Vnotchenko, Michail Dostovalov, Vladimir Dudukin, Alexander Kovalenko, Tomas Musinyants, Viktor Riman, Aleksey Selyanin, Stanislav Smirnov, Andrey Telichev, Valentin Chernishov, Anatoliy Shishanov, “Wide-Swath Spaceborne SAR System "Severyanin-M" For Remote Sensing: First Results,” Proceedings of EUSAR 2012 (9th European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar), Nuremberg, Germany, April 23-26, 2012

14) Information provided by Boris Zhukov of IKI, Moscow

15) I. V. Cherny, G. M. Chernyavsky, N. N. Gorobets, “Spaceborne Microwave Image/Sounder MTVZA,” Proceedings of 25th ESA Antenna Workshop on Satellite Antenna Technology, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, Sept. 18-20, 2002, pp. 523-527

16) I. V. Cherny, G. M. Chernyavsky, “Microwave Imager/Sounder MTVZA of Space Meteor-3M,” Proceedings of 7th International Conference on Remote Sensing for Marine and Coastal Environments, Miami, FLA, May 20-22, 2002

The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: ”Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors” (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (

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