March 1, 2021 Designed to survey the Arctic region of the Earth, the first Arktika-M series hydrometeorological satellite was launched into a highly-elliptical orbit (HEO) at 12:15 pm on February 28.

The satellite’s onboard control complex was developed by Moscow Experimental Design Bureau “Mars”, a Rosatom subsidiary. The control complex will be responsible for the spacecraft’s operation for the next seven years.

After the launch of the second Arktika-M series satellite, Russia’s federal Hydrometeorological Centre is expected to start receiving continuous operational information on the state of the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface in the Arctic area. This will improve the accuracy of short-term weather forecasts and provide scientists with a large volume of new data to study the phenomenon of global climate change.

At present, Moscow Experimental Design Bureau “Mars” is set to develop and manufacture the on-board control systems for three more spacecrafts in the Arktika-M series in the framework of Russia’s federal space programme.


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The Arktika-M satellite was developed by the S.А. Lavochkin Scientific and Production Association, a subsidiary of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos. The satellite is part of the high-elliptical hydrometeorological space system (VGKS) – an orbital constellation that consists of up to four spacecrafts. VGKS is designed to achieve the following tasks: to obtain and preliminarily process multispectral images of cloudiness and of Earth’s underlying surface across the entirety of the observable Arctic region; to obtain heliogeophysical data at a highly-elliptical orbit (HEO); to collect and retransmit information from data collection platforms (DCP); to retransmit signals from the emergency beacons of the Cospas-Sarsat system; to achieve two-way radio communication between data receiving stations and hydrometeorological points of along Roshydromet’s network of ground-based data collection points.