Belarus, Russia to make space satellite group
October 09, 2012
Belarus and Russia have plans for creating a group of space satellites. The matter was discussed at the 9 October meeting of Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich and Anatoly Shilov, Deputy Head of the Federal Space Agency of Russia (Roscosmos).
Anatoly Shilov told media that for more than four years Belarus and Russia had been working to create the two satellites for the remote sensing of the Earth – the Belarusian satellite and the Russian satellite Canopus. The satellites are now about to complete flight tests. They complement each other, have similar characteristics and boast a resolution of two meters. The products the satellites will make will be in demand on the global market. Therefore, Belarus and Russia will continue working in this area. Now a certain phase is about to complete: after the tests the satellites will be commissioned. Anatoly Shilov remarked that the sides had agreed to continue working together. So the owners of the two satellites are different but the group is common. Now the sides have to decide what they are going to do from now on. “It would be a good idea to make a group of six satellites instead of two. Then each of them would be able to take an image of one location on the planet within 24 hours,” said the Roscosmos representative. It would be sufficient for daily updates. Such work is considered to be effective.
Apart from that, it is possible to consider making the next version of the satellite with different capabilities, better resolutions. The Belarusian manufacturer OAO Peleng has the capability. “We know about them. We are discussing whether we should make more precise satellites, more up-to-date ones, or whether we should just copy what we have,” said Anatoly Shilov.
Apart from that, the creation of a communication satellite of Belarusian make is under consideration. “It does not mean that at present Belarus is ready to make a proprietary communication satellite but it means that the state should have a communication satellite of its own due to security and commerce reasons,” said Anatoly Shilov. He also said that when the Soviet Union collapsed, Belarus inherited three geostationary orbit positions. So, Belarus has the capacity to put such a satellite into orbit, said Anatoly Shilov. Therefore, it will be necessary to decide whether the positions should be realized or whether they will go away and the International Telecommunication Union will give them to another user. There is a preliminary agreement with Russian manufacturers and operators to stake out a claim on these positions in order to leave them open to Belarus.
Anatoly Shilov concluded that satellite communication is a very profitable business, with profitability reaching 87%. Satellites for the remote sensing of the Earth have much lower profitability but they are in demand today, space images are necessary in Russia for the implementation of the Glonass program.
The Roscosmos representative underlined that the decision to create a communication satellite of Belarus’ own could be made in the near future. It will take at least three years to create the satellite itself.
Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Anatoly Rusetsky remarked that at present the Belarusian satellite was passing flight tests. “The designed parameters are being confirmed,” he said. Good quality images have been acquired. Yet certain work has yet to be done in order to complete flight tests of the satellite and the ground infrastructure. Anatoly Rusetsky also believes that the effectiveness of the work will be higher if it is done by a group of satellites. “It will enable more effective imaging. We have very good prospects taking into account that we have our satellite and Canopus, which are fully compatible on the hardware and software levels as well as controls,” he stressed. Therefore, the sides can effectively use this satellite group.