What are the Arctic-M satellites?

11 months ago

In 2021, the NGO named after Lavochkina plans to sign a contract and begin production of three more spacecraft for remote sensing of the Arctic region “Arctic-M”. Currently, experts are preparing a feasibility study for the cost of manufacturing satellites. This was reported by RIA Novosti with reference to the general director of the NGO Vladimir Kolmykov.

There will be five satellites in total. The launch of the first Arctic-M device was postponed from 2019 to the end of 2020. Now they are producing a second satellite, the launch date of which has been changed from 2021 to 2023. The Russian federal space program for 2016-2025 reflected plans to launch three more satellites in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

What will the Arctic-M satellites be used for?
Arktika-M is a meteorological spacecraft. They are designed to monitor climate and the environment in the Arctic region. These satellites will solve problems in the fields of operational meteorology, hydrology (studying natural waters) and agrometeorology (studying the effect of weather on agriculture).

The new satellites will conduct round-the-clock all-weather monitoring of the state of the atmosphere, surface at the poles of the Earth and the seas of the Arctic Ocean. After the first two Arktika-M spacecraft will be launched into orbit, the Hydrometeorological Center will be able to continuously obtain these data and build more accurate short-term forecasts based on them.

Satellites will help specialists track emergency situations and carry out environmental monitoring. They will provide scientists with new data to study the phenomenon of global climate change. In addition, Arktika-M devices will provide constant and reliable communication and other telecommunication services.

What are the Arctic-M satellites?
According to the press service of the Russian Space Systems (RKS, part of the Roskosmos state corporation), the Arctic-M satellites will have equipment similar to that used in the orbiting geostationary meteorological devices of the Electro-L series. In particular, the Electro-L satellites are equipped with a multi-zone hydrometeorological scanning device (MSU-GS), a heliogeophysical equipment complex (GGAK-E), an on-board radio complex (BRTK) and an on-board data acquisition system (BSSD). All this complex of on-board equipment is produced in the RCS.

The Earth’s polar regions are poorly visible from the Electro-L satellites, and new Arctic-M devices will be able to assess their condition. To do this, the satellites will be placed in a highly elliptical orbit, in which the most remote point of the orbit of the spacecraft from the Earth will be many times further than the nearest.

Due to the characteristics of the orbit, the satellite will periodically move away from the Earth and give different-sized images, its rotation speed will differ from the rotation speed of the planet and it will continuously change the shooting angle. So that the received images do not have additional deformations, special normalization procedures will be used in the devices.

In particular, the Arktika-M will use multi-zone scanning devices (MSU-GSM) developed and manufactured by the CS. These are cameras transmitting images from satellites in different spectra. Two MSU-GSM devices will be installed on each satellite: they will reserve each other, increasing the reliability of the system, and will also be able to work simultaneously.

Which Russian meteorological satellites are operating in orbit now?
Five Russian hydrometeorological satellites operate in Earth’s orbit. These are three low-orbit spacecraft Meteor-M with numbers 1, 2 and 2-2 and two geostationary spacecraft Electro-L (No. 2 and No. 3). The estimated resource Meteora-M No. 1 expired in 2014, the target meteorological equipment does not work on it, but additional scientific equipment is functioning. Meteor-M No. 2 also operates outside the warranty period.

In 2016, the Electro-L satellite No. 1 ceased operation prematurely, and in 2017, as a result of an emergency launch, Meteor-M No. 2-1 was lost.

The launches of the Meteor-M satellites No. 2-3 and Electro-L No. 4 are planned for 2021, and the Electro-L No. 5 satellites for 2022.

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