21 Mar 2019 20:12

Belarus and Russia discuss expansion of joint satellite fleet

MINSK/MOSCOW. March 21 (Interfax) - Belarusian ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko had a meeting with General Director of Roscosmos state corporation Dmitry Rogozin, the Belarusian diplomatic mission reports.

"The possibility of expanding the existing Russian-Belarusian fleet of Earth remote sensing satellites was discussed," the embassy said.

The sides also spoke of the prospects of space programs implemented in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Union State.

"Opinions were exchanged on the project definition of a Russian-Belarusian satellite launched in 2018. Understandings were reached to maintain active contacts and exchange visits," the embassy said.

Previously the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus said the paper vehicle of the second Belarusian satellite (BKA-2) was supposed to be ready in December 2018 and its expert study completed in 2019. Based on the results of the project definition the time of making the vehicle, the scope of operations and their cost will be finalized.

The new satellite will increase the size of the joint fleet of Earth remote sensing satellites. Its improved parameters compared with the existing BKA will permit expanding the scope of its tasks and involving Belarus more actively in the international market of space services.

The equipment for the satellites will be manufactured at Peleng company in Belarus while the space bus will be supplied by Russia's Institute of Electrical Engineering. The Russian side will also be responsible for the launch.

The cost of making BKA-2 was tentatively estimated at $180 million and 2021 was named as the possible time of its launch.

The first Belarusian satellite BKA was launched to a terrestrial orbit on July 22, 2012 from Baikonur cosmodrome with a Soyuz-FG launch vehicle together with Russia's Canopus-B satellite. This year its service life was prolonged until 2021.