Russia launches satellite to monitor climate in Arctic

Project is part of push by Kremlin to expand activities in remote region

Russian Soyuz-2.1b booster rocket with the Fregat upper stage and the first Arktika-M spacecraft for monitoring climate and environment in the Arctic region, during lift-off
Russian Soyuz-2.1b booster rocket with the Fregat upper stage and the first Arktika-M spacecraft for monitoring climate and environment in the Arctic region, during lift-off

Russia has launched a satellite into space to monitor climatic changes in the Arctic.

The satellite, Arktika-M, successfully reached its intended orbit after being launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome by a Soyuz rocket on Sunday.

The launch is part of the Kremlin’s push to expand its activities in the Arctic region as Russia seeks to develop the energy-rich region, investing in the Northern Sea Route for shipping across its long northern flank as ice melts.

The Arctic has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average over the past three decades and Russia plans to send up a second satellite in 2023. Combined, the two will provide round-the-clock, all-weather monitoring.

The Arktika-M will pass high over northern latitudes, allowing it to monitor northern regions for lengthy periods before it loops back down under Earth.

“As more activity takes place in the Arctic and as it moves into higher latitudes, improving weather and ice forecasting abilities is crucial,” said Mia Bennett, a geographer at the University of Hong Kong.

“There is also an element of data nationalism that is feeding into all this. Countries, especially those that see themselves as space powers, want to be able to rely on their own satellites and data to inform their activities, whether commercial or military in nature.”

At the right orbit, the satellite will be able to monitor and take images every 15-30 minutes of the Arctic, which cannot be continuously observed by satellites that orbit above the Earth's equator, the country’s Roscosmos space agency said.

The satellite will also be able to re-transmit distress signals from ships, aircraft or people in remote areas as part of the international Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based search and rescue programme.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in