Recently, Russian space and its prospects are often spoken about in the past tense, recalling the successes and glories of the past years and paying attention only to recent failures. Despite this, the Russian space program is quite ambitious and, as in the days of the beginning of space exploration, it is primarily related to the needs of the military. Russia is developing in the military segment of space programs and making its first successes. These successes may not be as noticeable, they are not heard as flights to other planets, but they are very important for the future of Russia. It is for this reason that attempts to silence the achievements of today and drown them in streams of negative information, which are replicated on the basis of individual failures, are an attempt on the future of our country.
The Russian military space program, as well as the civil program inextricably linked with it, approached the beginning of the 21st century with a number of systemic problems. Firstly, this is the collapse of a single research and production complex, which allowed the Soviet Union to be the leading space power. Secondly, this is the loss of the volume and continuity of military space programs, which in turn led to the lag of domestic space technology by an entire generation. At the same time, the civilian segment of the Russian space industry managed to survive, largely due to the interest in domestic achievements on the part of Western states. At the same time, the lack of due attention of the state to military space programs has thrown us back a decade.
Despite this, Russia is returning to its historical path as a world power, not intending to remain in the role of a world backwater. All this requires the restoration of the potential of the country's Armed Forces and bringing them to a new level that would correspond to all the challenges of our days. This level cannot be reached without the deployment of strategic reconnaissance assets, without modern command and control and communications equipment. And all this, in turn, cannot be imagined without a space program that is quite extensive and directed towards the future. It should be noted that such a program is being implemented today before our eyes. We can talk about some of the successes of the new military space program right now. However, one should not forget about failures, without which it is difficult to imagine any great work. It is important to remember that growing pains are a sign of growth.
On Friday, June 7, 2013, from the 43rd site of the Plesetsk cosmodrome, the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle launched a military satellite into orbit, which was assigned the number Kosmos-2486. The spacecraft weighing about 7 tons was successfully launched into the target orbit and on June 8 took control of the space command of the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces. After this launch, the deputy head of Roscosmos, Anatoly Shilov, told reporters about the cost of the satellite launched into orbit, which, according to him, is about 10 billion rubles.
In this case, we are talking about a truly significant event. A new-generation optical-electronic (optical) reconnaissance apparatus "Persona" was successfully launched into near-earth orbit. Its development has been actively pursued since the 2000s."Persona" is a Russian military optical reconnaissance satellite of the 3rd generation, it is designed to obtain images of the Earth's surface with very high resolution and their operational transmission to the Earth via a separate radio channel. This satellite was developed and produced at the Samara Rocket and Space Center TsSKB-Progress. The optical system for this satellite is produced by the optical-mechanical association LOMO (St. Petersburg). The customer of the satellite is the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU General Staff) of the Russian Armed Forces. The new spacecraft replaced the previous generation of Neman-type satellites.
The platform of the Persona spacecraft is based on the Resurs-DK spacecraft and is a further development of the Soviet satellites Yantar-4KS1 Terylene and Yantar-4KS1M Neman. The "Persona" uses a new optical system - LOMO 17V321. In terms of its characteristics, it surpasses all systems developed in Russia and Europe (for 2001), approaching the characteristics of large-size surveillance systems made in the United States. According to unofficial data, the resolution of the new optical systems should reach 30 cm.
The element base of the satellite is also new, in particular, an optoelectronic photodetector of a completely Russian design (an optoelectronic processor on a CCD with a fully digital path for the accumulation and subsequent transmission of the received information). The total mass of the Persona spacecraft exceeds 7 tons, and its active life is 7 years. Persona uses a circular sun-synchronous orbit with an inclination angle of 98 ° and an altitude of 750 km.
The importance of launching this satellite can hardly be overestimated. The launch of the Persona spacecraft into orbit made it possible to interrupt the time period that had lasted for more than a decade, when the Russian military department did not have the ability to quickly obtain high-resolution space photographs. The last domestic satellite of the "Neman" type was launched from near-earth orbit in May 2001. From that moment on, the GRU GSh could only use space photographs taken by military satellites of the "Cobalt" type. These spacecraft were launched into orbit once a year and operated in space for about 3 months.
At the same time, the photographs taken by "Cobalts" could get to the surface of the Earth only in 2 detachable capsules or one large descent vehicle. Because of this, it took up to a month between the production of photographing and the descent of the capsule to Earth, which greatly reduced the value of the obtained images for the interests of operational intelligence. Since June 2006, the GRU GSh, most likely, began to use for its own purposes the images of the "commercial" satellite "Resurs-DK1", which were transmitted to Earth via a radio channel. But in the images obtained by "Resource", objects with dimensions of about 1 meter are visible. According to unofficial information, the military needs images with a resolution of less than 30 cm for detailed reconnaissance. Most likely, the new Persona satellite fully meets these requirements.
The greatly increased service life of the satellite is also very important. The lifetime of its predecessors in orbit did not exceed 1 year. Whereas the period of active existence of the "Person" in orbit should be at least 7 years, which is very important for complex and very expensive space technology. At present, TsSKB-Progress is assembling the second spacecraft of the Persona series. The launch of this reconnaissance satellite is scheduled for late 2013 or early 2014. Without exaggeration, these spacecraft are the most important component of Russia's security; these are the eyes of the Russian armed forces, which have very sharp eyesight.
Also in 2013, a new military electronic intelligence satellite will be launched into space, also belonging to a new generation of systems. It, if we continue analogies with human senses, can be attributed to acute hearing. We are talking about a spacecraft of the Lotos-S series. This unit will be the second in the series. The first one was launched into space back in November 2009 (Kosmos-2455) and is currently continuing its work, it is used to test the components of a modern electronic reconnaissance and target designation system. The second Lotus-S launched into space will carry on board the full range of hardware originally envisaged by the project.
"Lotos-S" is a series of domestic electronic intelligence satellites, which are one of the components of the new generation "Liana" electronic intelligence (RTR). The Lotos-S satellites, along with the second component of the Liana radio intelligence system, the Pion-NKS satellite, are to replace in orbit the Tselina-2 satellites of the same Soviet design, which are still in operation by the Russian Ministry of Defense (KB Yuzhmash ", Ukraine) and the US-PU satellites included in the RTR GRU and marine space reconnaissance and target designation" Legend ", respectively. The previous system was still quite workable, but the dependence on Ukrainian manufacturers made the military think about creating a new intelligence system entirely of Russian production.
Also on July 23, 2013 the launch of the next military communications satellite "Meridian" is scheduled. It is also part of a rather large and ambitious program - the development of a new generation of Integrated Satellite Communication System. The implementation of this program was accompanied by failures, 2 satellites of this series were lost, and another 1 cannot function in the system, since it failed to enter the specified orbit. Despite this, in July this year the launch of the seventh satellite "Meridian" will take place, and in mid-August - the third satellite of the "Raduga-1M" series. After this launch, the new military communications system will be fully operational. Over time, its capabilities will only increase with the help of launching a new generation of spacecraft into orbit.