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Belarus, Russia to decide on terms of new satellite project soon

Society 29.06.2017 | 21:28

MOSCOW, 29 June (BelTA) – Belarus and Russia will soon determine the detailed conditions for creating a new space satellite and controlling it, BelTA learned from Sergei Zolotoi, Director of the R&D enterprise Geoinformation Systems of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB), chief designer of the Belarusian system for the remote sensing of Earth.

The project was presented during the fourth Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia.

According to the source, the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and the Russian space agency Roscosmos will sign a memorandum as part of the forum to start work on the new satellite. “For all intents and purposes, the document will read that we are making the satellite together,” said Sergei Zolotoi.

Work on the project is already in progress. Both sides are financing the initial designs on their own. The Belarusian company Peleng will make core equipment for the satellite while the Russian company VNIIEM will make the platform.

After the draft designs are ready, technical parameters of the satellite and economic aspects of the project as a whole will be clearer, said Sergei Zolotoi. A regulation on interaction between Belarusian and Russian satellite operators will be worked out as well. “Since the satellite will be made jointly, we will have to decide how we are going to control it and use its information resource,” he said. The matter is supposed to be worked out till the end of August. Sergei Zolotoi reminded that Belarus and Russia had already done some work to integrate their ground infrastructures. “The existing satellite constellation — Belarusian BKA and Russian Canopus-B — has proven the effectiveness of joint work. We cover each other in cases like maintenance,” he said.

Private investments may be used as part of the project. “We see interest on the part of private companies. The relevant negotiations are in progress,” stated Sergei Zolotoi. He explained that, for instance, in the USA the government pays 70-80% of the cost of a satellite while the private sector takes care of only 20%. “It takes about four years to create a satellite, which will work for 7-8 years in its orbit. Private sector views such projects as risky,” said the expert. At the same time the market for remote Earth sensing services will grow since satellite data is in demand in many branches of the economy. “I think private investors will come in the end,” he said.

Asked whether Belarus and Russia will be able to make satellites for third countries together in the future, Sergei Zolotoi noted that such projects are inexpedient. “Creating one's own infrastructure for space satellites takes a lot of knowledge and technical personnel. It is very expensive. Testing a satellite on the ground takes nearly a year. It is quite a complicated and expensive piece of equipment,” he explained.

BelTA reported earlier there are plans to launch a new satellite for the remote sensing of Earth in 2021.

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