Russia Launched The Fourth Resurs-P Observation Satellite

Russia launched the fourth satellite of the Resurs-P constellation. This earth-observation satellite class is capable of imaging objects larger than one meter

On March 31, 2024, at 9:36 UTC, from the Baikonur cosmodrome, a Soyuz 2.1b rocket launched the fourth satellite of the Resurs-P constellation towards a Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).

This is the penultimate example of the five planned aimed at monitoring the Earth’s surface for civil purposes.


A hawk’s eye

The observation satellites of the Resurs family derive from the similar Yantar-4KS1 military surveillance systems.

Artist representation of Resurs-P Satellite. Credit: Roscosmos
Artist representation of Resurs-P Satellite. Credits: Roscosmos

The first generation, Resurs-DK (named after its designer Dmitri Kozlov), launched in 2006, was capable of imaging objects larger than one meter and scanning strips of land 2,000 km long and 27 km wide. Weighing 1200 kg, it had an operational life of seven years.

The Resurs-P version (from the Russian “Perspektivnyy”) is always able to image objects larger than one meter on the earth’s surface and to scan on strips of land 2,000 km long but 38 km wide. It is also capable of acquiring stereoscopic images of the land in sectors 300 km long and 100 km wide. Of the same weight, it has a shorter operational life: five years.

It uses both the Western GPS and the Russian GLONASS for navigation.


The development of the project

With the Resurs-DK constellation underway, the development of its evolution began in 2008, the first launch of which, Resurs-P n.1, took place using a Soyuz 2.1b from the Baikonur cosmodrome on June 22, 2013.

The second specimen was also launched from the Kazakh Cosmodrome on December 26, 2014, and the third on March 16, 2016.

The Resurs-PM mockup at MAKS. Credit: Roscosmos
The Resurs-PM mockup at MAKS. Credits: Roscosmos

The fifth and final example of the Resurs-P is expected to be launched in 2025. In the meantime, the new generation of the Resurs family, the PM version, is under development, with its first launch scheduled for 2025.

It will be able to shoot objects larger than 0.4 meters.

In mid-April 2022, the Department of Optical and Physical Research of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences announced the completion of the next generation of equipment necessary for satellite orientation on board the Resurs-PM. The new device, called BOKZ-MR is 5-10 times better than the model on board the Resurs-P series.


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Roberto Paradiso

Roberto Paradiso

Banker with a passion for cosmonautics, he tells in his blog, "Le storie di Kosmonautika" and in the book "Noi abbiamo usato le matite!" the history and stories of the Soviet and Russian space program and the people who made it.

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