Status: Study 1993. Gross mass: 900 kg (1,980 lb).
Elekon was a hybrid low-earth orbit communications-navigation system proposed in Russia in the early 1990's by a team of Science and Technology International of Russia (STIR) and Elbe Space and Technology of Dresden, Germany. The Elekon program sought to replace the two existing Russian low-earth orbit navigation systems and at the same time implement a low-cost vehicle/container tracking and messaging network.
The communications payload consisted of L-band, S-band, and C-band transponders which would operate from a 900-kg platform orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 1,150 km. The constellation was to use seven spacecraft in different orbital planes and with an expected lifetime of 3-5 years. An Elekon payload was tested in orbit on the GEO-IK 1 satellite (launched 29 November 1994). The first operational vehicle was not scheduled for launch until the latter part of 1995 at the earliest.