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Why Russia’s Plans to Deploy Over 2,500 Satellites by 2036 Are No Pie in the Sky

© Sputnik / Grigory Sysoev / Go to the mediabankA Soyuz-2.1b rocket with a Fregat upper stage carrying the Meteor-M hydrometeorological satellite
A Soyuz-2.1b rocket with a Fregat upper stage carrying the Meteor-M hydrometeorological satellite - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.07.2024
Russia plans to deploy 2,600 comms and remote sensing satellites by the mid-2030s, Roscosmos CEO Yuri Borisov has announced. Russia’s NPO Lavochkina and Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems will be tasked with creating conveyor production capabilities by 2026, with 60 billion rubles needed to get up and running.
Some observers have questioned whether Roscosmos’ plans are realistic, given that Russia presently has the capacity to produce only about 40 satellites a year. But Dr. Natan Eismont, a leading researcher with the Russian Academy of Scientists’ Space Research Institute, says Russia definitely has the technical potential to achieve the ambitious goal.

“This is quite achievable,” Eismont said. “Let’s compare the figure of 2,600 satellites to the capabilities [Elon] Musk has demonstrated…He managed to increase production [of SpaceX’s Starlink] from a modest scale to what we are seeing now, promising 10,000-12,000 satellites. The Russian satellites are approximately the same size as Musk’s, and Musk’s manufacturing capabilities are smaller than ours. He has a large company that’s well-organized and well-financed, but we’re talking about the rocket and space industry of an entire country.”

Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Skif-D - the first spacecraft for Russia's ambitious Sphera satellite internet, telephony and Earth imaging program, on board, launches from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East. October 23, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.05.2024
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Roscosmos plans to create conveyors in two places – ISS Reshetnev’s facilities in Krasnoyarsk, specializing in telecoms, and Lavochkin in Moscow, focused on remote sensing.
“We’re talking primarily about small satellites weighing 150, 200, 250 kg,” Dr. Eismont said, pointing out that for remote sensing, signal retransmission and other tasks, Russian enterprises have already shown an ability to build world-class equipment.
Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with a Fregat upper stage and the first Arktika-M satellite is transported from an assembling hangar to a launchpad ahead of its upcoming launch, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.04.2024
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“Do we have enough carrier rockets to launch these devices? Certainly. That is, there’s no need to create any new carriers for them,” Eismont added.
“Whatever parameter one looks at, it’s clear that these are not empty dreams or pie in the sky plans, but a very real state of affairs. This can be done.”
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