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Russia launches satellite to monitor climate in Arctic

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  • Published
    2nd Mar, 2021


Russia launched its space satellite Arktika-M on a mission to monitor the climate and environment in the Arctic amid a push by the Kremlin (Russian Parliament) to expand the country’s activities in the region.

What is Arktika-M?

  • Artika-M is Russia’s first in a new series of weather satellites to aid forecasting over its high-latitude regions.
    • The launch of the second satellite of the Arktika-M series is planned for 2023, and it will be followed by three more devices in 2024 and 2025.
  • It is aimed at monitoring the Arctic region’s climate and environment. 
  • The Arktika network could perform a variety of remote-sensing tasks, such as monitoring of environmental conditions, and also provide reliable communications and navigation across this inhospitable region.
  • The majority of Arktika satellites would be launched by Soyuz-2-1b rockets into highly elliptical orbits with most of their orbital path in view of the northern hemisphere.
  • As a result, at least one of the satellites would always be present above the horizon to provide communications, meteorological data and other services over the Arctic.
  • The constellation would be divided into four sub-systems:
    • Arktika-M
    • Arktika-MS1
    • Arktika-MS2
    • Arktika-R satellites

What will it do?

  • The Arktika-M will monitor northern regions for lengthy periods before it loops back down under Earth.
  • At the right orbit, the satellite will be able to monitor and take images every 15-30 minutes of the Arctic, which can’t be continuously observed by satellites that orbit above the Earth’s equator.
  • The satellite will also be able to retransmit distress signals from ships, aircraft or people in remote areas as part of the international Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based search and rescue program.

The need

  • The Arctic has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average over the last three decades.
  • The Arctic holds huge oil and gas reserves that are being eyed by Russia and other countries including the United States, Canada and Norway.

  • Moscow is seeking to develop the energy-rich region, investing in the Northern Sea Route for shipping across its long northern flank as ice melts.
  • Exploitation of natural resources of Arctic: Natural Gas, Methane Hydrates, Fisheries etc

Value Addition

Research in Arctic

  • Himadri: India’s first research station located at the International Arctic Research base, NyÅlesund, Svalbard, Norway

 Himadri station during winter season

  • MOSAiC:  to take the closest look ever at the Arctic as the epicenter of global warming and to gain fundamental insights that are key to better understand global climate change. India have not joined this expedition.