Satellite constellation of the Northern Sea Route

As part of the Order No. 3120-r dated December 21, 2019, according to which organizational measures will be taken to ensure the safety of navigation and communications in the Northern Sea Route water area. They involve the implementation of the Sphere program - a project of the Russian global multifunctional information and communications satellite system (GMISS).

The Sphere program

The Sphere program will be the main project of Russia in the sphere of applied cosmonautics in the next decade. It is expected that thanks to it, the country will receive the most modern communications system, which includes both existing and future space infrastructure. As a result, integrated services will be created for the development of all sectors of the Russian economy.

The "Sphere" consisted of the satellite communication groups "Express", "Express-RV", "Yamal", the global data transmission system "Marathon IoT / M2M", the medium-orbit broadband access system "Skif", systems for high-periodic monitoring of the Earth based on small and midget spacecraft. According to the plan, by 2030 it is planned to concentrate about 600 satellites in various orbits.

According to Roskosmos (, humanitarian and social considerations have become the fundamental basis for defining the Sphere concept, because Russia has an extremely uneven distribution of population density. Thus, one of the program tasks is to ensure the safety of navigation and communications in the NSR water area.


"Express-RV" spacecraft

The order provides for the creation of four Express-RV1, Express-RV2, Express-RV3 and Express-RV4 spacecraft in highly elliptical orbits and one Express-RV5 backup vehicle with a deadline for implementation until December 2024.

The satellite communication system "Express-RV" is being developed by the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Space Communication". It will solve communication problems in the northern, including the Arctic regions of Russia, where there is poor observability of geostationary satellites.

According to the head of the FSUE "Space Communication" Yuri Prokhorov, the production of four satellites "Express-RV" and the creation of one backup apparatus on Earth and a set of launch vehicles, as well as insurance of the launches of these satellites requires financing from the federal budget in the amount of 58.8 billion rubles.

In the spring of 2019, Mikhail Glinka, director of the Sales Department for Operator and Corporate Solutions of Space Communications, said that the design of the appearance of the new Express-RV communications satellites had been successfully completed.


"Kondor" and "Resurs"

According to the document, in addition to the Express-RV spacecraft, six spacecraft will be produced and launched into space until December 2025: three Resurs-PM and three Kondor-FKA.

The Resurs-PM satellites are new Russian Earth remote sensing (ERS) satellites, which are part of the Resurs-P satellite constellation for the study of the Earth's natural resources. They will be able to survey in the visible and infrared ranges. The devices are designed to create and update topographic maps, control environmental pollution, monitor natural emergencies, environmental monitoring and search for oil, gas and other mineral deposits.

In October 2016, Roskosmos signed a contract with the Progress Rocket and Space Center for the development and creation of the Resurs-PM satellite. The deal is estimated at 16.1 billion rubles.

To date a mock-up of the new Resurs-PM spacecraft has been presented. It was demonstrated by the Progress enterprise at the MAKS-2021 aerospace show. The launch of the satellite has been postponed several times, today it is planned to launch the first device in the period from 2022 to 2023, the second from 2023 to 2024.

Satellites of the "Kondor" family are domestically-produced ERS satellites, like "Resurs". In the spring of 2021, it became known that NPO Mashinostroyenia began developing a new spacecraft, Kondor-FKA on commission from Roskosmos. The satellite is being created in the interests of various domestic departments - the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Emergencies, Russian State Register, Russian meteorological service and others. It is known that the device will receive a hybrid reflector antenna with an APAA feed (active phased antenna array). The satellite will be able to monitor both during daylight hours and at night. The onboard equipment will be able to transmit data in almost any conditions, even with significant cloud cover and precipitations.

In 2020, the preliminary design of the satellite was completed, and in 2021, the development of technical documentation for the spacecraft will begin.

The "Arktika" hydrometeorological satellites

The order provides for the deployment of the highly elliptical hydrometeorological space system "Arktika-M" with a deadline for implementation until December 2025. It consists of two satellites. According to Roskosmos, the creation of satellite systems in highly elliptical orbits is necessary for information support in solving problems of operational meteorology, hydrology, agrometeorology, climate and environmental monitoring in the Arctic region.

Two spacecraft "Arktika-M1" and "Arktika-M2" as part of the high-elliptical hydrometeorological space system (HEHSS) "Arktika-M" will provide round-the-clock all-weather monitoring of the Earth's surface and the seas of the Arctic Ocean, as well as constant and reliable communication. This should contribute to the dynamic socio-economic development of the northern regions of our country.

In February 2021, the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket launched the first hydrometeorological satellite Arktika-M into orbit, and at the end of March, the first images received by the device were published.

Anatoly Krainov, chief designer for the Arktika project at NPO Lavochkin, told the Russian Space magazine that the launch of the Arktika-M2 satellite is scheduled for 2023. As for the entire system, the flight tests of the "Arktika-M" will be completed in 2024.