The Sitronics Group, which is part of AFK Sistema, has proposed launching 157 small and ultra-small satellites by 2025 for fire monitoring, Earth remote sensing and ship navigation. The satellite constellation project will cost 20 billion rubles, 10 of which will be asked from the state.
Satellite constellation for 20 billion
Sitronics, which is part of AFK Sistema, has developed a project for a satellite constellation for Earth remote sensing, ship navigation, the Internet of things and fire monitoring. Until 2025, it is planned to launch 157 small and ultra-small satellites into space, Kommersant writes with reference to representatives of Sitronics.
It is planned to spend 20 billion rubles on launching satellites, 10 billion rubles. of which the state was offered to finance through cross-cutting projects. Sitronics plans to attract the rest from anchor customers, among which there are state corporations. The company also invested 1 billion rubles in the project. from own sources.
What satellites are we talking about?
The Sputniks company, which is part of Sitronics, produces small and ultra-small CubeSat satellites. This is a dimensional standard for micro- and nanosatellites, proposed in 1999 in the USA, the fixed dimensions of the devices change multiples. So, CubeSat 1U (unit) is a cube with an edge of 10 cm, 2U is two cubes with total dimensions of 10 x 10 x 20 cm.
The company assembles the devices in the Skolkovo technopark on the Industrial component base. This is the name of equipment with characteristics for operation at low and high temperatures, which can be used in low orbit.
According to the project, Sitronics satellites will perform tasks in the field of remote sensing of the Earth – observation of the planet’s surface by ground, aviation and space means with different types of imaging equipment. The devices will also be used for ship navigation, the Internet of Things and fire monitoring.
The company spoke in more detail about its products at the Digital Industry of Industrial Russia exhibition, which was held in early summer 2022. Thus, the Pallada satellite platform was presented – service on-board systems that can be used to create satellites for various purposes, for example, spacecraft up to 200 kg for optical and radar remote sensing of the Earth, and in the future – for the provision of space communications services.
“Most of the onboard equipment is a proprietary development of the Sputniks company, which is part of Sitronics, which can significantly reduce the total cost and time for creating devices, and increase the import independence of their production,” the company says. “The launch of the first spacecraft based on the platform is planned for 2024.”
In addition, the Zorkiy-2M spacecraft, a modern ultra-compact Earth remote sensing satellite, is presented on the Sputniks website. According to Kommersant, Sitronics is going to work on the launch together with MTS, and the satellite constellation infrastructure will consist of satellite ground stations and data centers connected by high-speed communication channels.
When Sitronics became space
Until the summer of 2021, Sitronics was mainly engaged in the implementation of smart city and security solutions, was responsible for the production of IT equipment, software and digitalization of strategic sectors of the economy, shipping and maritime navigation.
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In August 2021, Sitronics bought a 71% stake in the private company Sputniks, a manufacturer of satellite technologies and components for small spacecraft.
After acquiring the space asset, company representatives explained to CNews that they plan to launch digital services and solutions based on space data from low-orbit satellites – first of all, it was about systems in shipping and civil aviation.
The head of the company Nikolai Pozhidaev also noted that Sitronics, using its satellites, will be able to fully implement geoanalytics and space monitoring services to solve both government and business problems. In particular, it will be possible to control climate change, prevent forest fires, illegal logging in the taiga, monitor agricultural land and the state of the atmosphere.
Will it be possible to obtain funding through cross-cutting projects
10 billion rubles Sitronics hopes to receive from the state through the mechanism of end-to-end projects. As such, we recall, is considered a set of measures for the implementation of software and hardware systems or intelligent control systems. This includes the organization of production, research and development of radio electronic products, the creation of embedded software and software adaptation.
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In September 2021, the head of the Government of Russia Mikhail Mishustin approved the rules for granting subsidies for end-to-end projects – organizations were allowed to compensate up to 50% of the costs of the purchase and implementation of Russian radio-electronic products, and the maximum amount of state funding within five years could reach 20 billion rubles.
However, in May 2022, it became known that the financing mechanism would change dramatically: now only a loan, but not a subsidy, can be obtained for the introduction of Russian equipment. They will also adjust the timing, targets and volumes of funding for end-to-end projects – how exactly is still unclear.