Russia: Russia’s first remote sensing (RS) satellite, the Kondor, may be launched in January 2012, according to Deputy Head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos Anatoly Shilov. He said, “We are developing Kondor and Arkon satellites. Arkon is a distant future but Kondor will hopefully fly in January.”
The Kondor weighs 800 kg. It is designed to provide high-resolution radar imagery and terrain mapping in real-time. It will be launched as part of the Arktika Earth observation satellite grouping. “As a rule, 90 percent of the time the Arctic region is covered with clouds or remains in darkness due to long polar night season. In such conditions these satellites are indispensible,” Shilov added.
In addition, Shilov said that Russia was planning to launch in 2012 two Earth optical observation satellites – the Resurs-P and the Canopus-B – to provide precision monitoring of natural and man-made disasters, particularly wildfires and environmental pollution.