14 June 2012, 16:43

Russia resorts to small satellites

Russia resorts to small satellites

Russia is developing projects of micro satellites, including nano-satelites weighing less than 10 kilograms.

These satellites can effectively solve tasks set before them in space, but it will be a lot cheaper to put them into orbit using light rockets.

The geo-centric satellites need powerful data relay systems and consequently, heavy batteries for power supply. These are multi-ton satellites. However, the weight can be reduced by miniaturizing the service systems. Russia launched its first nano-satellite in 2005, says general director of the Russian Space Systems Company, Yuri Urlichich.

“It was launched by cosmonaut Salizhanov Sharipov from the International Space System. For this satellite, we developed dozens of new technologies, date rely systems and sensors,” Yuri Urlichich said.

The small satellites can be used for many purposes, says Yuri Urlichich.

“We will develop a satellite for automatic identification in the sea. All ships see each other and ports in the radius of 30 nautical miles. This will help ships to pass clear of each other in narrow straits. In short, the satellite assures safety in the sea. This system can be used also in large rivers in Russia and on the Northern Shipping Route. It could be global when it covers the entire oceans. The micro satellites could be also used in the Kospas-Sarsat rescue system. Other areas of their use could be meteorology and forecasting earthquakes,” Yuri Urlichich added.

Some forerunners of these calamities have been well known for a long time. They are increase in seismic activity and concentration of radon gas, changes in the level of subsoil water and unrest of animals. According to Yuri Urlichich, Russian scientists have notices another factor.

“When we were developing GLONASS system we noticed that the concentration of free electrons in the ionosphere changes before earthquakes. Seven hours before the disaster in Japan in March last year, we saw a splash over the future epicenter. We suggest launching small satellites that could communicate with each other and measure signal delay in the ionosphere. This would drop away the need for setting up a large number of seismological stations.

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