Elektro-L1, Russia’s Eye In The Sky…

Elektro-L1, Russia’s next generation weather watching eye in the sky, with a flair for photography. An extra-ordinary satellite Elektro-L1’s has the amazing ability to capture the Earth in a single unbelievably high resolution,121 megapixel frame, a skill that has been put to other extra-ordinary uses.

Starting with record breaking ‘highest resolution single shot of the Earth ever’, the 121 megapixel camera was just getting warmed up. Next the stunning shot of the Earth and Moon, with the Moon in perfect location to be the Earths backdrop. Now, the amazing shots coming from Elektro-L1 are also becoming the source of stunning time-lapse videos.

Having set records while stunning the world Elektro-L1 has returned to her daily weather duties, watching ocean temperatures or storm formations. From time to time though Elektro is given the opportunity to take advantage of the spectacular views and Elektro-L1’s flair for photography.

Included for your viewing pleasure, the time-lapse sequence of Electro’s view of the Earth, along with of Elektro’s amazing photography…

Launched January 20, 2011 Electro-L represents Russia’s next generation weather satellite. Tasked with helping Russia’s Meteorologists better predict the weather and reduce Russia’s reliance on European and American weather satellites.

Russia is currently rebuilding its weather satellite network, Elektro-L1 doubles Russia’s satellite count to two with Elektro joining the Meteor M1 in orbit. Elektra-L1 brings two instruments to orbit. The MSU-GS imaging system and GGAK-E heliophysical device that will measure solar radiation levels.

The 1,620kg Electro-L was developed for the Russian Federal Space Agency by NPO Lacochkin. It was launched from the Baikonour Cosmodrome and will be operated for its 10 year life by Roscosmos.

Earth and Moon.

Sitting upon high at 22,000 miles (36,000km) up Electro-L1 is all about watching weather. Able to capture images of the entire Earth in one shot, allowing observations of entire oceans or continents with incredible detail.

At 1 kilometre resolution for visible and 4km resolution for infra-red spectrum Elektro-L1 is the highest resolution weather satellite in orbit. The multi-spectral image provides information on temperature and vegetation as well visual information. Images can be captured every 15-30 minutes, every 10 minutes in an emergency apparently, allowing for a sequence of shots from the same location, perfect for time-lapse.

Using the new standardised Navigator platform, Electro-L1 is said to signify the rebirth of the Russian space industry. The Navigator platform aims to reuse and standardise technology across various satellites, driving costs down. The same platform has now been used by the Spekt-R space telescope and will be seen again in the Elektro-L2, due for launch 2013.

Helping to make Russia’s weather forecasts more accurate and with surprising skills as a photographer Electro-L1 is an important milestone for the Russian space industry. An industry with its sights set on the Moon.

Reference: RFSA Elektro-L1
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