MOSCOW, May 28. /TASS/. Russia expects to launch its first special-purpose satellite to monitor space junk in the near-Earth space in 2027, Roscosmos Executive Director for Long-Term Programs and Science Alexander Bloshenko told TASS on Thursday.
Russia’s upgraded automated warning system of hazardous situations in the near-Earth space will get the name of Milky Way and will operate 65 telescopes by 2025 (currently, 36). However, optical ground-based monitoring facilities depend on the state of the atmosphere and have no global coverage, the specialist said.
"Consequently, for the purpose of achieving the maximum possible efficiency of detecting and monitoring space objects, the system will integrate the space segment that will include a grouping of special-purpose near-Earth space monitoring satellites. The first such satellite making part of the system’s space segment is expected to be launched in 2027," he said.
Russia also plans to create Earth’s remote sensing promising satellites and outfit them with additional near-Earth space monitoring equipment under the Sfera (Sphere) program, Bloshenko said.
Also, Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos expects to deliver experimental optical equipment under the Milky Way program to the International Space Station, the specialist said.
Russia will use artificial intelligence elements to develop its automated warning system of hazardous situations in the near-Earth space. This will help boost the number of processed measurements fivefold to 1 million per day and reduce the error of predicting the proximity of artificial objects in orbit by several times, Bloshenko said.
Over the past decades, a huge number of artificial objects have accumulated in the near-Earth space, including functioning spacecraft and space junk: defunct satellites, rocket upper stages, boosters and the fragments of the above-mentioned disintegrated objects, the Roscosmos specialist said.
Currently, Russia’s control system is monitoring over 22,000 relatively large space objects. However, there is also a large amount of small space junk: over 600,000 fragments ranging from 1 cm to 10 cm in size. A collision with space junk fragments may damage or degrade any spacecraft or rocket, he said.