Second Arktika-M satellite launch to assure entire Northern Sea Route coverage

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The first special Arktika-M satellite was launched in February 2020 and another such satellite will be launched in 2023

KYZYLORDA REGION, KAZAKHSTAN – FEBRUARY 25, 2021: The Soyuz-2.1b/Fregat-M rocket booster with the Arktika-M Earth observation satellites is installed at a launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome. The launch is scheduled for February 28. Roscosmos Press Office/TASS

The second Arktika-M satellite, which is due to be launched in 2023, will be used to monitor the entire Northern Sea Route (NSR), Director General of the Navy’s Central Research and Design Institute Sergei Buyanov said on Wednesday.

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“In February last year (2020), a special Arktika-M satellite was launched. <…> We plan another such satellite will be launched in 2023. Thus, we will be able to cover rather well the entire Northern Sea Route,” he said during a roundtable, devoted to the Arctic navigation and innovations in shipbuilding, at the Project Office for Arctic Development.

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The current system for monitoring and communication along the entire Northern Sea Route is not sufficient, the expert stressed.

The Northern Sea Route is the shipping route and the main sea line in the Russian Arctic sector. It stretches along northern coasts of Russia across the seas of the Arctic Ocean (Barents, Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi and Bering seas). The route consolidates European and Far Eastern ports of Russia and navigable river mouths in Siberia into a single transport system. The route length is 5,600 km from the Kara Strait to the Providence Bay.

About satellite

Arktika-M No. 1 satellite, designed at the Lavochkin design bureau (a part of the Roscosmos state-run corporation), was launched on February 28, 2021. The satellite is a part of the Arktika-M hydrometeorological system of satellites on highly elliptical orbit (HEO). The orbital grouping may contain up to four satellites.

The system is designed to carry out the following tasks: to obtain and pre-process (normalize) multispectral images of clouds and the underlying Earth’s surface within the entire observed Earth disk in the Arctic region; to obtain helio-geophysical data at the orbit altitude; to collect and relay information from data collection platforms (DPS); to relay signals from COSPAS-SARSAT emergency beacons; to provide two-way radio communication between data reception stations and the Roshydromet hydrometeorological network’s data collection ground stations.