MOSCOW, Russia – The first Russian satellite for weather and climate and environment monitoring in the Arctic region, Arktika-M, is to be sent to Earth orbit in June 2019, a Russian space industry source said.
“The launch of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome with the Fregat propeller and the first Arktika-M hydrometeorological satellite is scheduled for June 2019,” the source said.
The equipment installed on the Arktika-M satellite will be similar to the Elektro-L series geostationary meteorological satellites. The Arktika-M will be placed in high elliptical orbit, which will collect meteorological and hydrological information on the state of polar regions of the Earth, which are poorly covered by Electro-L.
The Arktika-M will periodically move away from the surface of the Earth and take pictures at different scales. It will have a different rotation speed than Earth and its angle of action will change continuously.
After placing two devices of this series in orbit, the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia will now receive information about the atmosphere and surface at the poles of the Earth. This will allow for improved short-term weather forecasting models and provide scientists with a wealth of new data to study global climate change.
Previously, it was reported that the second Arktika-M satellite was slated to be launched in 2021. Russia’s federal space program for 2016-2025 also includes plans to launch three additional Arktika-M satellites in 2023, 2024 and 2025, but the contract for its production has not yet been completed.
Over the past few years, Russia has been actively ramping up its defenses in the Arctic, constructing new bases, launching icebreakers, ramping up its coastal and air defenses – and even tidying up junk to keep the snowy region clean, RT reported. The Russian military has also tested a handful of weapon systems made specifically to be used in the Arctic according to the channel.