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Above: General architecture of the Resurs-P satellite. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak
Previous chapter: Resurs-DK satellite
Developed by TsSKB Progress in the city of Samara, the Resurs-P No. 1 (47KS) remote-sensing satellite was designed to provide high-resolution imagery of the Earth surface reavaling details as small as one meter in size. Resurs-P (where "P" stood for "prospective") would complement and ultimately replace in this role the Resurs-DK spacecraft launched in 2006. Both satellites were considered to be civilian cousins of a classified optical reconaissance spacecraft also developed by TsSKB Progress. The company's Soyuz-2-1b rocket was expected to orbit Resurs-P.
Resurs-P was designed to carry three types of remote-sensing payloads for high-resolution, wide-angle and multi-spectral observations of the Earth surface. As a result, the spacecraft could photograph individual targets on the Earth surface, as well as long stretches of Earth surface extending as far as 2,000 kilometers. The width of the shot would cover 38 kilometers of land during its pass, comparing to 27 kilometers for its predecessor. (562) Resurs-P could also image areas 100 by 300 kilometers during a single path and conduct stereo-imaging.
For the first time the Russian satellite would carry so-called hyper-spectral system featuring 96 spectral channels in each of its two optical-electronic converters. (570)
TsSKB Progress also hoped to use the American GPS and Russian GLONASS networks for navigation of Resurs-P.
The Resurs-P's projected lifespan was extended to five years, even though by the time the satellite reached the launch pad in 2013, its predecessor -- Resurs-DK -- would log seven years of operational life.
Among users of the satellite, TsSKB Progress listed following institutions:
As of June 2008, the launch of Resurs-P was promised in December 2010. During 2010, the mission was planned for 2011. As of mid-2011, the launch was officially scheduled in April 2012, however by that time, it slipped to the third quarter of the same year.
In the fall of 2011, Department 1133 at TsSKB Progress conducted aircraft tests of the satellite's unique hyper-spectral payload, which would be used for the first time on the Russian-built spacecraft.
As of March 2012, the launch of Resurs-P was promised in August 2012. (562) As late as May 2012, the preparations still maintained the launch date in August or September.
By the end of June, the launch was set for Sept. 30, but by the beginning of August, the mission was postponed again to October 25. By the end of the same month, the launch was rescheduled for November 22 and by the beginning of October the mission was set for November 30, 2012. On Oct. 9, 2012, TsSKB Progress announced that the spacecraft had arrived to Baikonur. However on November 14, Roskosmos announced that in order to confirm the projected lifetime of the spacecraft, light sensors manufactured with the new technique and intended for the star trackers onboard the satellite had undergone additional tests. Based on the results of these trials, a decision had been made to upgrade the instruments. As a result, the launch of Resurs-P was postponed from November 30, 2012, to the first quarter of 2013.
Resurs-P No. 2
In parallel with the development of Resurs-P No. 1, TsSKB Progress was also working on hardware for the second similar satellite. As of April 2012, the launch of Resurs-P No. 2 was planned for the end of 2013. At the time, all systems for the satellite were promised to be completed by the end of the year. In May 2012, Roskosmos placed a formal order for the Soyuz-2-1b rocket to carry the second Resurs-P spacecraft into orbit.
Resurs-P No. 2 was also expected to carry a high-energy particle detector, which was previously developed for a 750-kilogram Koronas-Nuklon satellite. In the spring of 2012, Roskosmos awarded 753.5 million rubles to Nuclear Physics Research Institute of Moscow State University, NIIYaF, however the development of the satellite itself was canceled by November of that year.
Speaking at the expanded meeting of the company' management on November 16, 2012, the head of TsSKB Progress Aleksandr Kirilin said that the completion of the satellite assembly without its payloads would have to be completed by January 2013, followed by the transfer of the vehicle to the company's Checkout and Test Facility, KIS, for the first phase of tests. The launch of the spacecraft had still been expected in 2013, Kirilin said.
Resurs-P No. 3
In 2012, TsSKB Progress was also preparing for a tender conducted by the Russian space agency (Roskosmos) to develop a new-generation remote-sensing satellite. (569) During that year, the company was expected to get one billion rubles for the development of the spacecraft, which was to take a total of three years. As of 2012, the launch was expected in 2015 or 2016. At the time, TsSKB Progress was in process of preparing contracts with suppliers of avionics for the spacecraft.
Known specifications of the Resurs-DK No. 1 (47KS) spacecraft, according to TsSKB Progress as of 2009:
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Writing and photography by Anatoly Zak
Last update: December 1, 2012
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Pre-launch processing of Resurs-P satellite. Credit: TsSKB Progress