State of the satellite "Mayak" / SurprizingFacts

Hello everyone, this is Alexander Shayenko! The latest news from the developers of spacecraft "Mayak."

Briefly, now we believe that the "Mayak" is most likely not revealed, and what many amateur astronomers and a few professionals observe are other cobsates equipped with sunlight shining on the sun.

You can blame me for this, as well as for all other sins, including incorrect calculations, a sluggishly working application, a bad PR and anything that seems relevant to the project. I initiated this project and still manage it.

In addition, after analyzing the available technical information, considerations are given regarding communication with the community of SurprizingFacts, in general, useful for the project, as well as the financial part of our work.

So, let's get started.

Visual observations

From the first evening after the launch until now, the project team receives many testimonies about the observations of the "Mayak". Starting from such – "Did you see a bright flash tonight at night, was it" Mayak "?" To very useful observations in the calculated sky area with serious instruments like Mini-MegaTORTORA (MMT) and The Fly's Eye camera system.

] The first instrument, MMT, does not see the object similar to the flash parameters for "Mayak", and the second sent a beautiful track, on which only the old GLOBALSTAR M042 is seen.



The data on the picture

The coordinates of the place of shooting

  • latitude: 47.91840
  • longitude: 19.89317
  • elevation: 986.26

The beginning and end of the exposition:

  • TIME-BEG = '2017-08-02T23: 00: 50.445' / UTC
  • TIME-END = '2017-08-02T23: 03: 20.548' / UTC

The coordinates of the flare centers for the J2000 period and their relative stellar magnitude:

  • 279.0142 46.3660 8.4
  • 281.8821 48.3114 7.6
  • 285.0443 50.2275 5.5
  • 288.5286 52.0894 6.8

Here is what amateur astronomers have spread:

Peter Pskov Flash on the border of the constellations Pegasus and the Lizard. By the time and the trajectory seemed to coincide: 00.58. The duration of the outbreak was about 1-1.5 seconds, the maximum brightness was about -0.5. FPS4, 24mm / 1.4 lens with ISO 6400.

Alexander Aaalex Flash +3.5 Sounds. Led. In the Little Dipper (center of the frame 0: 10-0: 15 sec). Taken July 18 at 00:57 Moscow time in the city of Noginsk, Moscow region. Sony a7S + 50 mm F / 1.1, ISO 16000.

Thus, observers see something that is not the brightest star, and does not fit into independent calculations.

You can, of course, also Continue to pull the time and say that until just unlucky, and the "Lighthouse" is about to break out as we planned, but it will be dishonest.

So we decided to go to the second source of data about our satellite – The space defense of North America:

NORAD data

In a group of 24 satellites launched in one orbit with Mayak, by medium The rate of change of the period of circulation is allocated to the object 42830 or 2017-042F. Earlier arguments were given in favor of the fact that the object 42830 is a "Beacon", since its parameter B * and the rate of change of the mean motion differ significantly from other launch objects.

Accumulated statistics on launch objects on July 14, 2017, in particular, the dependence of the rate of change in the average movement (the number of turns per day) on time, allows us to continue to allocate the object 42830 as declining most rapidly

[19459002 image

When averaging over the entire time of observations, clearing out explicit measurement errors, object 42830 is still allocated.

 ] Image

The question arises of the correctness of the design model.
By the same algorithm, we will analyze the flight of the InflateSail spacecraft, which is a 3U cube, equipped with an aerodynamic brake device deployed in flight with an area of ​​10 sq. Km.


The device was launched into orbit on June 23, 2017 by the Indian LV PSLV-XL. The spacecraft was assigned the number 42770 in the NORAD catalog. The range of catalog numbers for the spacecraft from this launch is 42765 – 42795. The two objects, 42796 and 42797, represent the last stage of the LV and the fragment, and were excluded from the analysis.

The results of applying the algorithm are as follows

A graph of the rate of change in the average movement (the number of turns per day) versus time.


When averaging observations, the object 42770 stands out in an absolutely explicit manner.


An analysis of these results suggests that the algorithm for determining rapidly decreasing The spacecraft is correct.

Consequently, in the launch on July 14, 2017 at an altitude of 600 km there are no rapidly decreasing space vehicles. This allows us to assume that the solar reflector "Mayak" opened in an abnormal way, or did not open at all.

Compare the dependencies of the average movement (the number of turns per day) on the time for two flight scenarios "Mayak", with the reflector open and Undisclosed. In the first case, its orbital existence time is 28 days, in the second case the orbital existence time is more than one and a half years. For comparison, NORAD data for object 42830 are given.


Data analysis allows us to state that the most likely scenario is the non-disclosure of the solar reflector.

In the future, our team plans to conduct an analysis of possible causes of the emergency operation of the Mayak spacecraft, as well as to study the state of the satellites launched simultaneously with the Mayak

Communicating with the community of Giktimes

Before beginning to present my thoughts on this topic, let me note that "Mayak" is the first Russian satellite in which, at the stage of design and flight tests, the Giktimes community has accepted and participates
This is really so, because after the discussion under the article and subsequent correspondence by mail, we first made the second nozzle in the satellite spin-up reactor, and then, in the course of further discussion, removed the twist from the flight schedule. And it happened thanks to the discussions here.

I do not know if the authors of the councils are important, but personally it seems to me just amazing! In my opinion, for the first time in the history of domestic cosmonautics anyone could take part in the discussion of the real project of the spacecraft, which was later launched into space! And not just to take part, but to bring in thoughts that were then put into practice.

Therefore, I am deeply grateful to those commentators who have criticized the project. It is very difficult, no doubt, to read critical reviews of the case to which you devoted three and a half years of your own life, but nevertheless it was necessary!

Thanks guys! It was hard, but useful.

The value of the stellar magnitude

Let me remind you that we originally planned to make the brightest object in the sky after the moon, with brightness down to -10 m. Such a plan was based on two assumptions:
We can make a good, smooth solar reflector.
Our reflector will be closer to the Earth and larger than the current brightest object – the satellites "Iridium."

The first statement was based on this layout


It can be seen that its plane, although not perfect, reflects, and in many respects is mirrored. It was planned that the frame of the pyramid will be elastic and will stretch the film.

The second – on the following numbers. The area of ​​one side of the reflector: in our country it was assumed to be 3.9 square meters. Meter, in the spacecraft "Iridium" – 1.6 square meters. Meter. The height of our orbit is 600 km, of Iridium – 780 km. Everything seems to be obvious.

Based on these calculations, we planned announcements and started fundraising.

During the work, after long experiments, it became clear that it is impossible to make a pneumatic skeleton. On the one hand, it was not possible to make the decomposition reaction of the reagent inflating the rib, irreversible, reasonable methods. The reagent, after inflating the ribs, precipitated in the form of a powder already inside the ribs. On the other hand, to ensure the integrity of the system without increasing the thickness of the film also failed, and the increased thickness of the film did not fit into the given dimensions of the CubeSat 3U.
As a result, we moved to a "sliding" frame of elastic profiles. At the beginning of the work with him, it was unclear to us how much he would be able to stretch the film and how smooth it would be.

Nevertheless, we launched the second fund-raising campaign under the slogan "The Brightest Star," based on previous assumptions . The tests were conducted in parallel to raising funds and just then, in mid-February 2016, the attention of the SurprizingFacts community turned out to be drawn to our project, again, enriching it. During the discussion, there were fairly well-founded doubts that the star would be the brightest, but a convincing publication with an independent model of estimated magnitude was published only in August 2016.

Of course, it would be possible to stop raising funds, stop technical work , To abandon the launch, to which we have been going for two years and which, by the way, was planned for the summer of 2016 and announced that the project was stopped due to the fact that SurprizingFacts commentators doubt that the Mayak satellite will be the brightest Stars th in the night sky. To declare it so, to get your dose of criticism from other commentators, maybe not with SurprizingFacts, all to double-check, redo, and in a year at best to seek money, it's unclear how and where, and a new launch opportunity.

Despite doubts, We decided to bring the project to the launch, considering that the created by the hands of enthusiasts and a satellite launched into space, to the work of which there are claims, which is better to cause only positive emotions of the right satellite left on Earth. By the way, after the publication of the article with independent calculation, I personally said that most likely the object will not be the brightest, but still visible to the unaided eye.

The only places where the formulation "the brightest star" remains – It's a site and social networks, which belong to PR people. Our relations with them are a little bit lower, in the section about money.

Now the "Mayak" in orbit is most likely not visible to professionals or amateurs, and it's up to us to find out the reason, because the main task Project – this is to draw attention to the exploration of outer space. I, as the creator of the project, and, as I think, it was pleasant and useful for the entire engineering team if the experience of Mayak were critically evaluated, analyzed, and the following projects of private or personal space travel passed beyond what we were able to pass.


About money and PR

At the beginning of my acquaintance with Alexander Panov, the head of the advertising agency 12.digital, which is now maintained by the site and social networks of the project, it was agreed that they work for free as And all of us, but all the means gained beyond what is They had to take the equipment for themselves. Taking into account this agreement, we began to work with them, and they owned and disposed of all the money – obtained from Bumstarter, through SMS and translations. And now they own and dispose of it.
Engineers only brought bills for payment and said, with whom and for what to conclude contracts.

Let's analyze the financial part of the project.

What are the stages of the development of the spacecraft? This is designing, manufacturing, assembling, testing, launching and orbital exploitation.

Since engineers worked on bare enthusiasm, the design was free of charge. We had a rather interesting relationship with the private space company Yalini, which has now ceased to exist, and their engineers participated in the design of Mayak, receiving a salary, but they were paid by their employer, who was attracted to work by PR people.

The production of a spacecraft consists of the production of its systems. In our case: the hull, the solar reflector opening system, the reflector itself, the power supply system, the onboard computer, the reactor and the on-board cable network. The new parts, the production of which had to be ordered, were included in all these systems.

Mechanical treatment with coating was ordered from two suppliers LLC "Ralliworks" and LLC "Intechpro". First recommend, second – no. The first contract was for the sum of 156 694 rubles, the second – 194 070 rubles.

The electronics production for the on-board computer was ordered in all the well-known "Resonite" and cost about 35 000 rubles.

Fasteners, wires, the most notorious roulettes, transport case cost about 75 000 rubles.

The film for the solar reflector was provided to us free of charge by the manufacturer NIIKAM, thank you very much for it!

The energy supply system based on Elements Panasonic NCR18650B, telemetry stands for TVI Nton Alexandrov made at his own expense, to which he had gone about 200 000 rubles. At his own expense – because he began to do it during the period of financial uncertainty between the Bumstarter campaigns, when the battery was already needed, and there was no money at all.

For all the details, all the team members took about 50,000 rubles .

The total for production and assembly was about 710 764 rubles.

We conducted the tests at the friendly stands of the CPTA, the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Moscow State University, which were provided to us free of charge. Moreover, the CPTA for us agreed with one very cool vacuum camera, into which we were also allowed free of charge! It was necessary, of course, to buy spare parts and to decorate stands, rigging, adapters in hermetic connectors, etc. For what we really paid at this stage, it's for the full cycle of tests at NIIEM. There was a shaking table, a shock stand and a centrifuge. The successful carrying out of these tests enabled us to board a carrier rocket and fly into space. The contract for these tests was for the amount of 196,234 rubles.

PR people who manage the money of the project paid the road for three engineers to Baikonur and stayed there when we flew for integration, installing the satellite on the rocket. It was worth about 140 000 rubles. At the start of the most of the team went at their own expense and the only one who went at the expense of the project was our sophomore Sergei, who, of course, did not have any money. He went there in a reserved seat, back with us in a car, lived with everyone in the hostel. It cost about 30 000 rubles.

Thus, for the whole technical part of the project, taking into account production, testing and business trips, about 936,998 rubles were spent from the project budget, of which 250,000 were invested by the project engineers at different Stages.

Why do I focus on this so much? Because "Mayak" is really a cheap companion, accessible to many.


This article is over, but the story of the satellite "Mayak" has not ended. It is necessary to find out exactly what is wrong with him, and if the solar reflector still does not open, then for what reason.

Finally, until a comprehensive report on the results of the project is published, which conveys our experience to all those who wish to build small spacecraft in Russia.

We, the Mayak project team, will be very happy if the results of our labors help those who follow us!