Mon, Dec 25, 2006
The Year in Review
With no breakthroughs during the
first year of an ambitious government-approved federal space
program that runs through 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin
and his government have been receiving additional resources; Russia
has overhauled its telecommunications satellite cluster, while
developing spacecraft for accomplishing socioeconomic
The country's 2006 accomplishments in its space program
- The re-activation of the 13-satellite GLONASS (Global
Navigation Satellite System) cluster, which received two new
GLONASS-M satellites with a five-year service life on August
- Three more GLONASS-M spacecraft were to be launched on December
25, with another to lift off next year.
- The launch of the country's first Resurs-DK1 remote-sensing
satellite, which was activated in September after three-month test
flights. The Resurs-DK1 photographs from 280,000 to 466,000 square
miles of the terrestrial surface per day with a resolution of three
Russia also continues to operate the experimental small-size
Monitor-E optoelectronic surveillance satellite, which uses
panchromatic cameras with a resolution of 33-36 feet and
spectral-zone cameras with a resolution of 72-82 feet to fill daily
As Russia has not launched any full-fledged scientific
satellites this year, scientists have worked on analyzing the
results of previous experiments and on conducting research aboard
foreign spacecraft under international cooperation programs.
This year, Russia has
continued to receive data from the Mars-Express and Venus-Express
interplanetary probes, which make use of equipment made with active
participation of Russian experts.
- The Mars probe discovered water on the planet in the form of
subsurface ice, findings that imply water flowed on the Martian
surface until only five years ago.
- The Venus-Express determined the deuterium-hydrogen ratio in
the planet's upper atmosphere is 150 times higher than that in the
Earth's atmosphere. The assumption is, therefore, that all water
has vanished from the surface of Venus.
Stay tuned. Much to come between now and 2015.
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