23 Dec 2022 10:37

Belarus, Russia planning to build 3 satellites for joint constellation

MINSK. Dec 23 (Interfax) - Belarus and Russia will start creating a joint satellite constellation under a new scientific-technical program of the Union State in 2023, Sergei Zolotoi, director of the Geoinformation Systems enterprise of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences, told the state-run media outlet SB. Belarus Segodnya on Friday.

"The implementation of the eighth program, Complex-SG, will begin next year. It envisages the development of basic elements of orbital and ground infrastructure. The goal is to create joint multi-unit constellations of small-sized satellites for monitoring the Earth and near-Earth space," Zolotoi said.

The Complex-SG program of the Union State aims at building three satellites, he said.

"It will help fill the gap in the development of the domestic instrument-making industry in making small-sized satellites. One satellite will have a weight of 200 kilograms, and the other two will be smaller, about ten kilograms. Our country will build one of the smaller satellites. Its payload will be studying the ionosphere," Zolotoi said.

"Large satellites with a high resolution have a longer service life but their construction is long and expensive. Certain tasks can be accomplished by clusters of small satellites. A well-known example is the Starlink global satellite network of Elon Musk," he said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in early November said that Belarus and Russia were working on a joint satellite constellation to be used for military purposes among others.

"We have agreed with Russia to build a group of spacecraft together. [...] This is not just for military purposes. [...] We already have a satellite that can see a 35-centimeter object from a distance of 500-600 kilometers," Lukashenko said back then.

"The area we are currently developing is high-resolution satellites, those with a resolution smaller than one meter or even close to 30 centimeters. We are planning to create an orbital group together with Roscosmos," Zolotoi said at a press conference on April 11.

Chairman of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences' Presidium Vladimir Gusakov said in April that Belarusian and Russian scientists would expedite the development of a brand-new satellite with the world's best sub-meter resolution.

"We have agreed on every aspect in order to step up the development of a brand-new satellite with a 0.35-meter resolution. This is the best resolution in the world," he said.

A Russian-Belarusian group of six two-meter-resolution satellites, one of which is Belarusian, is now in orbit. It observes the same spot on a daily basis.