MINSK, April 11. /TASS/. A female Belarusian cosmonaut will carry out trials of the republic’s SOVA camera targeting platform during her mission to the International Space Station (ISS), says Alexander Shumilin, a senior researcher at the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences.
"Undoubtedly, she will carry out trials and studies of our SOVA apparatus, developed jointly by the Ministry of Education together with us [NAS - note TASS]. The device has been a fixture at the station for a long time. Of course, when sending our cosmonaut, we developed [the flight program] so that they would use the equipment, designed and produced in Belarus, for observing the Earth from space," Shumilin said.
According to the researcher, the SOVA system will be used to survey the upper layers of the atmosphere, which is of practical importance for monitoring the condition and fire protection of Belarusian forests.
Developed in the Sevchenko Institute of Applied Physical Problems, the SOVA system was delivered to the ISS in early December of 2019. The system is a targeting platform, installed on the space station’s porthole from the inside. The platform significantly expands the ISS’ capability to survey the planet and its atmosphere. The monitoring data makes it possible to promptly assess the scale of man-made and natural disasters, and facilitate the creating models for potentially dangerous natural cataclysms.
In 2022, Belarus picked six potential female candidates for the ISS mission; currently, the main and back-up candidates have been chosen - their training will begin in Russia as scheduled, negotiated with Roscosmos. In late February, Roscosmos announced that the mission of the first female Belarusian cosmonaut, initially planned for 2023, was postponed to the spring of 2024, due to the damage sustained by the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft in December.