Belarusian satellite to be sent into orbit in first half of this year

Belarusian scientists prepare new national space programme jointly with Russian specialists

By Olga Belova

The major areas of the new programme cover the development of a remote Earth sensing system and space communications. “The formation of a single navigation and time field for Belarus is also planned,” explains the Director of the United Institute of Informatics Problems at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Alexander Tuzikov.

This year, Belarus is completing its national space programme, adopted in 2008. Its key aim has been to establish a national Earth remote sensing system, including satellite launch. “I hope that all our plans will be fulfilled in the first half of the year,” notes the Director of the Institute.

Mr. Tuzikov also notes that Belarusian scientists have designed modern target equipment. “It will be used for the Belarusian and Russian satellite, being launched together,” explains Mr. Tuzikov. “Technologies have also been created to manufacture higher resolution optical equipment.”

The Belarusian satellite is to be sent into orbit alongside the Russian satellite Canopus-B (via a cluster launch from Baikonur in H1 2012). The satellite will be able to fully survey Belarusian territory and will be lighter and more manoeuvrable than the last, weighing about 400kg and boasting a resolution of about 2 metres. With the satellite in orbit, Belarus will gain independence in gathering data, alleviating its need to purchase this from other countries.

Satellite data is useful to the forestry and agricultural industries, as well as to ecologists, map specialists and geodesists. It can also be used to assess emergency situations such as fire and flood, allowing more effective action to be taken.

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