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Source: Russia Federal Space

# Roskosmos # Russian space # Orbital groups # ERS 06/12/2021 16: 30Dangerous season

In the midst of spring, news from the Urals, Siberia and the Far East resembles reports from the front line. During this period, nature turns out to be especially vulnerable and fragile in the face of natural disasters – fires, floods, floods. People are also seriously affected. In the zone of greatest risk are small settlements, whose residents are literally forced to fight for their lives and homes. Rescuers and other services are in constant readiness, using images from space to observe and predict the situation. “The last time such large-scale wildfires were in our region was 10 years ago. In some districts, for the fourth week without days off and holidays, people have been fighting, making every effort to prevent the fire from approaching settlements, saving forests, “- laments the Governor of the Tyumen Region Alexander Moor. Indeed, the south of Siberia this spring became the epicenter of the rampant fire element. The head of the sad rating is the Tyumen region, where at the beginning of May, on average, about 50 thousand hectares of burning forests were revealed per day. The situation was also not good in the neighboring regions – Omsk and Kurgan. Alexander Moor states that this year several unfavorable factors converged at once: “The earth was deeply frozen and not saturated with moisture, there was not enough rain either. Because of this, the fields and forests are very dry. At the same time, the situation is aggravated by the wind. ”Meanwhile, the fires themselves, in most cases, are caused by humans. “Someone didn’t put out the fire, someone didn’t put out the discarded cigarette butt, someone let it fall into the field, and someone decided to burn last year’s garbage … Unfortunately, someone else’s experience does not teach us anything – we continue to burn,” sums up the governor … The amount of fines imposed already amounts to millions of rubles. Another natural disaster that regularly ravages the territory of the country in spring is floods and floods. Sharp temperature changes inherent in a number of climatic zones cause abundant melting of snow and ice. Rivers and reservoirs are rapidly increasing in size, overflow their banks and cause enormous damage to nearby settlements. To illustrate, several news headlines: “In the Altai Territory, melt water flooded three sections of roads”, “In Kostroma, due to an increase in water discharge from the Rybinsk hydroelectric complex, the water level in the Volga is rising ”,“ In the Kaluga region, a flood flooded bridges and roads ”,“ Four low-water bridges were flooded in the Voronezh region ”,“ In the Angara region, a river overflowing its banks flooded houses ”.

Valery Zaichko, Deputy Director of the Department of Navigation Space Systems of the State Corporation Roscosmos, says that during dangerous periods of the year the volume of applications from the Ministry of Emergency Situations and regional authorities for satellite images increases by one and a half to two times. Consumers receive ordered data through the means of ground-based space infrastructure. They represent a network of centers for receiving, processing, storing and transmitting information scattered throughout Russia – from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok.According to V.A.Zaichko, today the operating group of Roscosmos includes 11 spacecraft, including one highly detailed observations (Resurs-P), five natural resource values ​​(Kanopus-V) and five hydrometeorological ones (three Meteora-M in circular and two Electro-L in geostationary orbit). In the past six months, there have been minor changes in the grouping. The second “Resource-P” is outside the warranty operating modes and will be decommissioned. At the same time, instead of one of the Canopuses, which stopped working last year, the capabilities of the Belarusian satellite BKA with similar characteristics are used. deputy director of the department. – Somewhere a dam has burst or there is a strong flood: at any time, day or night, a call rings – the officers of Roscosmos and the Emergencies Ministry urgently draw up an application, enter the archive data bank and receive information in real time. The limitation is weather conditions, for example, cloudiness over the area of ​​interest. ”Depending on the location of the subject of the survey, the time between the application and the receipt of the image can range from several hours to a day. Moreover, during this time you can get a snapshot of any point not only in the country, but also in the world. “The existing group as a whole copes with the tasks set quite effectively,” our interlocutor notes. – For two or three months with the help of “Canopus” coverage of the entire territory of Russia is provided. More spacecraft in orbit are needed for more efficient operations. ”According to him, the optimal number of spacecraft will be considered, which will provide images of any point in the country within a few hours.

One step ahead of the wind To solve urgent and promising problems, the domestic group of ERS satellites will be strengthened. “This year it is planned to launch Meteora-2.3, and in 2022 – two next” Resources-P “, – said Valery Zaichko – In addition, it is planned to create “Kanopusy-VO” – satellites of a new generation. They will differ from their predecessors by a five-fold widening of the swath. And, of course, the development of the Arktika-M system is planned, which at the first stage will include two vehicles. Their joint use with geostationary satellites “Electro-L” will allow solving the problem of practically continuous receipt of operational hydrometeorological data. ”Special importance is attached to monitoring the Arctic and Antarctic. First, both of these regions have a significant impact on climate and weather. Secondly, the Arctic, which is adjacent to the vast expanses of our country, is a strategically important region for Russia. The Northern Sea Route also passes here – a transport artery, the role of which in world trade will grow as the Arctic ice melts. All this economy needs monitoring. Until recently, there were certain difficulties in this matter. “The Electro-L satellites launched into geostationary orbit have high performance and allow taking images of the earth’s surface every 15 minutes,” the deputy head of the department notes. “However, there are blind spots at the poles of the Earth. The Arktika-M satellite was launched into a highly elliptical orbit to survey the northern regions. On the way to its apogee at an altitude of 36 thousand km, located above the Northern Hemisphere, for most of the orbit, it can work on surveying the polar cap and adjacent regions. ”Thanks to this satellite, it is possible to obtain unique information about the state of the weather in the Arctic zone, which has not been “The operated Meteora-M could not boast of such parameters as Arktika-M or Electro-L,” continues Valery Zaichko. – These are devices of a completely different class. Orbiting in low orbit, Meteor-M is able to provide information about the desired object only from one to three times a day, or even less often (for example, when the region hides the polar night or overcast clouds). ”According to the Deputy Director of the Department of Navigation Space systems, currently “Arktika-M” No. 1 is undergoing orbital tests, after which it will be put into operation in September-October 2021. The satellite equipment is similar to that tested on “Electro-L”, but the method of its use is somewhat different. Russia has not yet had such devices as launched on February 28, 2021. “We have long been moving towards a unique opportunity to observe the Arctic zone. The first will be followed by “Arktika-M” No. 2 – its launch is scheduled for 2023. Two vehicles are already enough to ensure the continuity of the survey: while one will fly at perigee, the second will work at apogee. They complement each other, which is very important for the information support of the Northern Sea Route, ”emphasizes the Roscosmos specialist.

Through smoke and clouds Due to the natural features of Russia (the vast extent of the territory, part of the country is constantly covered with clouds or is in the night zone), the existing orbital constellation, consisting of optoelectronic satellites, is not able to provide round-the-clock all-weather observation of the earth’s surface. For this, completely different devices are needed, equipped with a radar – a device capable of piercing clouds or smoke and seeing at night as during the day. Currently, work is underway in the country on two systems of this class – “Condor” at NPO Mashinostroyenia and “Obzor-R” at RCC “Progress.” “These are two parallel developments. “Condor” is important because there is some groundwork for this satellite: two working samples have already flown off, receiving good information, with high resolution, ”said Valery Zaichko. – This is a proven technology, and it was decided to replicate it. As for Obzor-R, this is a different apparatus operating at other frequencies. According to our plans, the launch of the first Kondor-FKA apparatus is scheduled for 2022, and the second for 2023. The first Obzor-R will start in 2022. ”Russia urgently needs radar satellites. They are especially good for solving flood-prone situations. And a locator with a meter resolution makes it possible to clearly track changes in the coastlines of rivers. “Taking into account all the tasks, the optimal constellation of ERS satellites, in my opinion, should include a system of six Canopus vehicles, three Resurs-P, two radars, and several hydrometeorological devices: for example, three “Electro-L”, three “Meteors” and two or three series “Arktika” “, – believes the interlocutor.

“Real independence” The development of the domestic ERS orbital constellation is also an insurance against political instability. Today our country can freely receive images from space through international exchange. “But life is changing. Tomorrow they may impose sanctions on us, anything can be … Therefore, everything related to the launch of spacecraft, including hydrometeorological ones, is being done in the interests of Russia’s national security, as well. This is real independence! ” – Valeriy Zaichko thinks. The evolution in the field of remote sensing goes not only along the way of improving the hardware, but also due to the introduction of digital technologies. “Automatic streaming data processing is already in use,” explains the deputy director of the department. – If earlier information from the spacecraft reached the end user (for example, the Ministry of Emergency Situations) in half a day or a day, now it takes 15-30 minutes. Moreover, this is not just a snapshot of the area, but data already ready for use, with a reconstructed “picture” containing many current parameters in digital form. The Ministry of Emergency Situations and other federal bodies are very grateful to us for this. ”According to him, the second technology is associated with the provision of products and services that can be obtained directly from the Roscosmos geoportal:“ If a customer needs to see burned-out areas on the territory of, say, the Krasnoyarsk Territory, he is does it via the Internet and after some time receives full analytical information. ” In total, according to this scheme, seven different services have been created and are already operating, tested in 2020 in eight pilot regions of Russia.

Iron proof In order for the data received from the observation satellites to gain legal force, Roskosmos has prepared a law on remote sensing from space. As Valery Zaichko noted, in May it is planned to send the bill for approval to the interested federal authorities, and in June to discuss it at the public council of the State Corporation Roscosmos. Submission of the bill to the government is scheduled for November this year. This law is expected to be passed in the first half of 2022. Digital technologies allow to modify images received from space, which is why in some cases it is difficult to distinguish a real image from a fake one. The new law attaches great importance to the certification of satellite data in order to avoid falsification. “Now the satellite image will be subject to certification and have a ‘digital signature and seal’ with legal force. For example, with certified data received from the Resurs-P satellite, it will be possible to go to court, where they can be considered as an evidence base – just like the images taken by the traffic police cameras now appear, ”explains Valeriy Zaichko. data is already used in civil cases, in particular in numerous disputes related to real estate. “Property issues [using such data] are usually easy to resolve. For example: the disputing parties acquired a plot and jointly built a house on it, although one of the disputants claims that the construction was completed even before the parties formalized their relationship. A clearly attributed image taken from the archive allows us to accurately determine the period of time when the building appeared on this site “, – Valery Zaichko shares his practice. Disputes sometimes arise between business entities that can be easily resolved using remote sensing data. quarry, did nothing and did not pay the rent. The same is with agricultural land. Now, together with the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia, we are conducting an inventory of such lands. Satellite images make it possible to clearly determine which plots are cultivated and used for their intended purpose, and which are not, ”explains the deputy head of the department. An important topic that is now being worked out with the Ministry of Energy is monitoring of highways and power lines, the external condition of which must be monitored. From space it can be seen: some areas are overgrown, which is the reason for the breaking of wires by falling trees. According to V.A.Zaichko, similar work is underway with Gazprom to monitor gas pipelines: “When the well-known environmental disaster happened in Norilsk, we transmitted to the Ministry of Emergency Situations data on this area every day or even more often: what is the area of ​​the oil spill, where did the spill go, where it is necessary to install booms, etc. All this is clearly visible on satellite images. “Satellite data make it possible to quickly identify not only fires, but also cases of deliberate arson.” There are examples when people deliberately cut down timber and take out timber, and then felling set on fire, passing off as a spontaneous forest fire, – says Valery Zaichko. – But from space it is clear that the felling of the forest was before the fire. A typical picture: the day before yesterday there was a forest on this place, yesterday there was a felling – and today the place is burnt out. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation entrusted us with such work in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, where there were large fires in 2020. And, by the way, this sequence – illegal logging and then fire – was revealed in a number of territories. ”Russian Space, Igor Afanasyev


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation from Russian Language to English.

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