The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, has stated that they are planning to greatly increase the number of satellites that they have in orbit by 2015.
“By 2015, we are planning to increase the number of Earth observation satellites [in orbit] from five to 20, operational Glonass navigation satellites from 24 to 30, communications and Cospas-Sarsat satellites from 26 to 48,” Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin recently told Russian lawmakers.
Currently, Russia has a total of 28 Glonass satellites in orbit – 23 of them operational – with the service starting to provide global coverage in a month, when the recently launched Glonass-M satellite becomes fully operational.
Popovkin said Russia occupied only 3 percent of the commercial services segment of the global space market while conducting 40 percent of global space launches annually.
"Therefore, we have reviewed priorities of the federal space program. One of our new priorities is Earth monitoring, weather and communication satellites. Another priority is space science," he said.
Russia’s first Earth observation satellite, the Krondor, may be launched in January 2012, a space official recently announced.
"We are developing Kondor and Arkon [satellites]," deputy head of Roscosmos Anatoly Shilov said. "Arkon is a distant future, but Kondor will hopefully fly in January."
The Kondor is designed to provide real-time high-resolution radar imagery and terrain mapping. It will be launched as part of the Arktika Earth observation satellite grouping.
IMAGE: RIA Novosti. Vladimir Baranov