Pictures of Soviet tracking ships
The pictures below were obtained
through various channels. The pictures of the Gagarin and the Korolev were
taken by an officer in the Swedish merchant marine who was a friend of
a person who worked with me. The other pictures come from Russian publicity
Present status of tracking ships
Concerning the present (May
1999) status of the tracking ships Bart Hendrickx has kindly forwarded
the following information from (1):
The three big ones (the "Korolyov",
"Gagarin" and "Komarov") were reportedly sold as scrap metal shortly after
the break-up of the Soviet Union. However, other information indicate that
the "Korolyov" and the "Gagarin" were handed over to the Ukraine
(because their home port was Odessa). In late 1995 China is said to have
shown interest in purchasing these vessels. They may still be around.
The four smaller ones (the "Selena"
class ships : the "Dobrovolskiy", "Patsayev", "Volkov" and "Belyayev")
were turned over by the Ministry of Defense to NPO Izmeritelnoi Tekhniki
(Scientific Production Association of Measurement Techniques), now belonging
to RKA. All four are in St. Petersburg, although the equipment of the "Volkov"
and the "Belyayev" was largely dismantled by their former owners. That
leaves only the "Dobrovolskiy" and the "Patsayev" as candidates for possible
use in the near future.
m/s Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
Click on image to see bigger
(50 kB) version. Click here to obtain an even bigger
(141 kB) version.
m/s Academician Sergei Korolev
Conical helices visible on all
ships. Probably used for telemetry reception.
The coax feed cable enters
the helix at
the circumference of the
of the helix.
Extremely wideband conical helix
feed used on four-dish antenna on m/s Cosmonaut Georgi Dobrovolski and
later on Sea launch ship
This antenna system was first
seen in public in a picture of the Georgi Dobrovolski published in Aviation
Week in July 1982. The pictures below have been taken from very recent
Russian publicity publications where tracking ships are offered for lease.
Even more recently this antenna system has been seen on the Sea Launch
support ship to receive telemetry from Zenit boosters.
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