Russian launch vehicle frequencies

Sven Grahn

Recently available data from the user's manuals of various Russian (and Ukrainian) launch vehicles and other sources have revealed new frequency bands in use by launch vehicles and old bands nowadays taken over by launch vehicles from spacecraft. Still other bands show shared use, especially for upper stages and spacecraft.

600 MHz band

The 600 MHz band started to be sued in the 80's and is widely used on Russian spacecraft. It now seems to be used also for upper stages that need long-range tracking stations. The table below lists the frequencies known so far.
Frequency (MHz)
L/V use  S/C use
Soyuz/ST 3rd stage  
Fregat TMS-M6  
  Spektr, Zarya
  Mir baseblock
Soyuz/ST 3rd stage Mir baseblock
Fregat TMS-M4  
  Mir baseblock

VHF band

It is quite interesting to note that as the VHF band has largely been abandoned for Russian satellite telemetry (virtually only Soyuz and Progress spacecraft still use this band) it is widely used for launch vehicle telemetry and the same precise frequencies used by spacecraft are still in use on launch vehicles.
Frequency (MHz) L/V use S/C use Remarks
120-130 Rokot    
132.4 Proton K,M 3rd stage    
136.75 Proton K,M 1st stage    
164.5 Kosmos-3M   +/-1.3 MHz (BW?),  19-23 dBW
166.0 Zenith-SL Soyuz S/C, US-A, US-P, Mir.....  
190.0 Kosmos-3M   +/-1.3 MHz (BW?),  19-23 dBW
192.0 Soyuz 2nd st, Proton 1st stage ASTP, Soyuz-22, Salyut-6, -7, Strela  
203.3 Soyuz L/V, START-1    
211.3 Zenith-SL    
219.3 Zenith-SL    
232.0 Proton 1st stage Zenit-4MK, -6, -8, ......  
240 Proton 2nd stage Yantar-2K, -4K1, -4K2  
247.3 Soyuz ST 3 rd stage TKS, Kvant-1 (247.5 MHz)  
248.0 Soyuz 2nd stage Meteor-2 series, ...  

1 GHz band

This frequency band has probably been used for missile telemetry since it is much used on the Rokot, which is a modified missile. However, It now turns out to be widely used for upper stages, such as the Soyuz third stage, Breeze and Ikar (a modified Yantar reconnaissance satellite service module)
Frequency (MHz) L/V use S/C use
1002 Soyuz 3 rd stage  
1002.5 Soyuz ST 3 rd stage  
1010.5 Zenith-SL  
1018.0 Zenith-SL  
1018.5 Breeze-M  
1020.5 Breeze-K, -M  
1042.5 Breeze-K  
1080 Ikar  

S-band radar

The standard orbit and trajectory determination system suing S-and transponders are used on launch vehicles and spacecraft. For example, Soyuz spacecraft and the Kosmos-3M launch vehicle carry radar transponders transmitting on 2805 MHz +/- 10 MHz and receiving on 2725 MHz +/- 30 MHz. Probably the +/- indication is the actual bandwidth of system..

3.4 GHz PPU tracking system

This hitherto unknown system is listed as using a downlink at 3410 MHz for both Proton M  and for Fregat. Its uplink is listed as 5754.9 MHz for Fregat and 5750-5750 for Breeze-M, the new upper stage of Proton. In the Starsem manual this tracking system is described  as "designed for a range between 1000 km and 45000 km, and is switched on during flight when the Fregat reaches an altitude higher than 1000 km". The standard S-band radar transponder sytem is listed as only useful up to 8000 km range.

Back to Space Radio Notes