The Russian Ministry of Defense is currently receiving high-resolution images of the Earth’s surface using two obsolete Persona satellites, writes a bmpd blog in LiveJournal, citing a study by analyst Bart Hendricks published in the American magazine The Space Review.
The publication reports that both spacecraft developed and produced by the Samara Rocket and Space Center (SRC) “Progress”, after overcoming serious problems during the initial tests in orbit “function normally”. Meanwhile, “there is no guarantee that they will continue to work” until the new generation satellites “Hrazdan”, which are being worked on at the same RSC, are ready.
According to Hendricks, for the period until “Hrazdan” is ready, the Ministry of Defense decided to develop a simpler type of spy satellite (“Razbeg”). The publication of the publication says that the probable experimental predecessor of Razbeg (EMKA / Cosmos-2525) – the project of VNIIEM Corporation – “reached the launch pad only 2.5 years after the start of development”.
Meanwhile, as Hendricks assures, the resolution offered by Razdan does not correspond to that of Hrazdan. “What makes the situation even more complicated is that at present Russia does not have satellites for receiving radar images (neither civil nor military) capable of seeing through the cloud cover and making observations at night,” the analyst notes. In his opinion, “Russia’s current space intelligence capabilities are much inferior to those of the US and China. In the worst-case scenario, the Russian Ministry of Defense may even be dependent solely on lower resolution images from Russian civilian Earth remote sensing satellites until its new fleet of reconnaissance satellites is ready for launch into orbit”.
In January 2019 CEO of RSC “Progress” Dmitry Baranov said that the Russian remote sensing satellites “Resurs-P” number 2 and number 3, which are considered civilian versions of “Persona”, do not work due to the failure of electronics. “First of all, the reason is technical, it is generally established, but these things have not been legally formalized to the end yet, so it is not put into the media field. The reasons for the failures are, so to speak, in common language, the refusal of the electronic component base,” said the Head of the Company.