Arktika-M weather satellite to be launched in June 2019
© RIA Novosti. Evgeny Biyatov

Arktika-M weather satellite to be launched in June 2019

The first Russian satellite for weather forecasting and climate and environment monitoring in the Arctic, Arktika-M, is to be sent to a near-earth orbit in June 2019, a source in the Russian space industry told RIA Novosti on Sunday.

"The Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket vehicle with a Fregat booster and the first Arktika-M weather satellite will be launched from Baikonur in June 2019," the source said.

A second Arktika-M satellite is expected to be launched in 2021. The Federal Space Program for 2016-2025 provides for orbiting three more Arktika-M satellites in 2023, 2024 and 2025. However, no contract has so far been signed for manufacturing them.

The equipment installed on the Arktika-M satellite will be similar to that of the Elektro-L second-generation geostationary weather satellites. Arktika-M will be placed in a highly elliptical orbit so as to collect meteorological and hydrological information about the Earth's polar regions that are poorly covered by Electro-L.

Arktika-M will periodically move away from the Earth's surface and will capture multiscale images. It will have a rotation speed different from that of the Earth and will change its shooting angle continuously. There might be image deformations and that calls for using special normalization procedures which will only be effective with the use of precision measuring of the movement of the shooting equipment.

With two such satellites in orbit, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of Russia (Roshydromet) will receive a continuous stream of data about the atmosphere and the surface at the Earth's poles. This will improve the accuracy of modeling short-range weather forecasts and provide scientists with a great deal of new data for studying global climate change.