2 Nov 2023 09:43

Russia may build low-orbit navigation satellite network - expert

NOVOSIBIRSK. Nov 2 (Interfax) - Russia may build a low-orbit navigation satellite network, former general designer of Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), and director of the Space Technology Institute at the Krasnoyarsk Research Center of the RAS Siberian branch Nikolai Testoyedov said.

"The task of 'embedding' the navigation function in low-orbit satellites is under consideration, as one [a high-orbit satellite] operates at an altitude of 20,000 kilometers, while the other in low orbit is 500 kilometers high. The 40-times difference in height changes the signal strength 1,600 times," Testoyedov told reporters on the sidelines of the Zolotaya Dolina research and production forum in Novosibirsk on Thursday.

Immunity from interference will significantly increase with navigation signal amplifiers on the Earth's surface, he said.

"Of course, a larger number of satellites will be required. Navigation signal from a satellite operating at an altitude of 20,000 kilometers covers the entire Earth and 2,000 kilometers above the surface, which allows for sectoral operation of satellites in geostationary orbit in those 'windows', yet more [low-orbit] navigation satellites will be needed due to a smaller [coverage] range," he said.

This is the issue of deploying a global navigation system based on low-orbit satellites, he said.

"One satellite replaces another, seamlessly, and everything is normal. For instance, the Marafon Internet of Things system requires 252 satellites for the continuous coverage of the entire Earth surface," Testoyedov said.

Low-orbit satellites will not always stay above the Russian territory, so other countries will be able to use them for free through joint projects of developing and funding satellites to use them in the future for free in Russia, he said.

The possible production of light 650-kilogram satellites with only the navigation function is under consideration, he said. "Several of them can be launched by one rocket, and they are rather easy to make," he said.