MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Russia plans to launch five satellites by 2022 as part of the program of developing its space satellite grouping to provide communications in its Arctic zone, Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Tuesday.
In the period until 2022, it is planned to launch 5 new space vehicles basically to replace satellites that are gradually using up their potential. In the period until 2022, there are also plans to create a system of communications satellites in highly elliptical orbits," the minister said.
The Ekspress communications cluster consists of 12 satellites that are run and controlled by the Satellite Communications state-owned company.
"This cluster covers about 40% of the entire Arctic zone. The implementation of the project to create the system of communications in highly elliptical orbits will help cover 100% of the Arctic zone, the minister noted.
Financing of the program to cover the entire Arctic with communications is estimated at 62 billion rubles (about $1 billion), of which 58 billion rubles ($940 million) need to be attracted in budget subsidies. Expenses on the maintenance and operation of the Ekspress system are estimated at about 12.7 billion rubles ($205 million) over ten years. These expenses are expected to be covered through the provision of communications services.