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12 April 2013
Science

ISTU teachers participated in the development of ionospheric stations for the first scientific space satellite of the Earth

Associate professor of the subdepartment of electronics and telecommunication systems of Physico-Technical Institute at Irkutsk Technical University, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Vladimir Zasenko, and associate professor of the subdepartment of "Electrical engineering and electricity supply" at ISTU, Florida Vasilyeva, are directly related to the establishment of the domestic cosmonautics. There was a project for the development of ionospheric stations (IS) for the first Soviet space research satellite of the Earth in their professional life.

A graduate of the Novosibirsk Institute of communications, Vladimir Zasenko, started to work as a senior engineer of the Siberian Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation in 1964 (in 1992 it was renamed like the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics SB RAS). He was assigned to work on a project with the code-named "Star." From 1964 to 1970 he was operating among the scientists SibIZMIR, and he created ionospheric radio station for 381-st artificial satellite "Cosmos-381", which was to perform the researches (the first artificial satellite of the Earth was launched on October 4, 1957). The development of the device was carried out in the "Laboratory of Experimental equipment" of SibIZMIR. The existed at that time the ionosphere research methods allowed studying its structure only from the Earth.

"The ionosphere consists of several ionized layers that contain free electrons capable to reflect radio waves", explains the radio engineer. “Electronic concentration increases, ranging from 80 to100 km from the Earth, and at an altitude of 300 km it becomes the maximum. Radio waves are reflected from the ionosphere at different altitudes. Height of reflection depends on the radio frequency. The frequencies are not reflected above the critical maximum and go into space. The distribution of the electrons’ density to a height of 300 km can be measured from the ground, and the nature of its distribution above this data was unknown. Therefore, it was important to make the necessary measurements. Ionospheric station was supposed to solve this problem by recording and storing the data. Later, the information was transferred in digital form over the radio channel in the general telemetric material on the tracking stations distributed over the territory of the USSR.

V. Zasenko said that the work on the project took place under the heading of "Top Secret." Developers kept secret even from family members.

According to the radio engineer, the project took place on the basis of Irkutsk factory of radios, which held the Special Design Bureau (EDB) and the so-called "Section 25" - Department of secret development. In 1964, Florida Vasilyeva started her career in this division, now she is associate professor of the subdepartment of "Electrical engineering and electricitysupply" at ISTU. F. Vasilieva, among other employees of "Section 25 " was busy with the tuning and installation of IS-2.

The first station developed for this project was to work at six frequencies, but it did not get into space. Launch vehicle did not reach the orbit and fell into the region of Kamchatka. Scientists have created a new device operated at 20 frequencies. December 2, 1970 "Space -381" with the radio on the board reached the goal. Within two months the ionospheric station led measurement, rotating around the Earth, and then the artificial satellite was out of order, in those days, they were short-lived. Irkutsk scientists have designed seven such stations. One of them is now stored at the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics in memory of the beginning of the space age. Satellite "Cosmos-381" and the ionospheric station IS-2 were shown at ENEA USSR in the pavilion "Space".

The successful operation of the ionospheric station on the board of the satellite validate the basic technical solutions , which were fundamental within the design of the station, for the duration of his active life. The experience gained was used in the subsequent development. The research of the determination of the density of the upper atmosphere, the nature of radio wave propagation in the ionosphere were conducted in the orbital flight; the monitoring of space object from the Earth was fulfilled.

Today, radio engineer, Vladimir Zasenko, teaches the disciplines: "Devices for receiving and processing of signals," "Devices generating and shaping radio", "Mobile Radio System." He is the author of several patents in the field of radio engineering at ISTU.

Associate professor of the subdepartment of "Electrical engineering and electricity supply" at ISTU, Florida Vasilyeva, has been working in the technical university for more than 45 years. For many years she was the deputy dean of the Energy Faculty at ISTU. Nowadays the teacher teaches a course "Theory of Electrical Engineering" for students of energy fields.



Nataliya Rozova
Photos are presented by the heroes of the material, and the Museum of History ISTP SB RAS

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