Pictures of Soviet tracking ships

Sven Grahn


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 material.

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):

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


Antenna details

Conical helices visible on all ships. Probably used for telemetry reception.

The coax feed cable enters the helix at 
the circumference of the bottom turn 
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.


  1. Novosti Kosmonavtiki 2/1999.

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