The Arktika-M hydrometeorological spacecraft No. 2 underwent two-week comprehensive electrical tests at the Rocket and Space Industry Research and Test Center (part of Roscosmos State Corporation). The tests were carried out in the thermal vacuum chamber. The results indicate the satellite’s systems would perform as expected under conditions in orbit.
Arktika-M satellites, designed by Lavochkin Research and Production Association on a modular principle, are based on the unified Navigator platform. Furthermore, they have almost identical target equipment as the Elektro-L satellite.
The main difference in the operation of the satellites is the types of orbits on which the target tasks are solved. Hydrometeorological satellite Electro-L conducts regular imaging of low and middle latitudes of the Earth from geostationary orbit with 15-30 minutes periodicity. Arktika-M conducts similar imaging of the Arctic region and adjacent territories above 60° N latitude, being in the area of apogee of Molniya- type highly elliptical orbit. Taking into account the peculiarities of its orbit, Arktika-M has higher requirements for hardware radiation protection and increased solar battery capacity compared to Elektro-L.
The first Arktika-M 1 satellite was launched into the target orbit on February 28, 2021. The second satellite is scheduled for launch in late 2023.
"The purpose of the tests was to confirm the performance of onboard systems in vacuum during three thermocycles, when the levels of cyclic changes in the allowable temperatures of the instrument landing sites vary from close to the maximum value to close to the minimum value. These tests are one of the most important stages of acceptance tests. Upon their completion a decision is made on the suitability of the satellite for its intended use,"the press service of the Lavochkin Research and Production Association
The second Arktika-M satellite will continue ground-based experimental testing at the development center. Two Arktika-M spacecraft, as part of the eponymous highly elliptical hydrometeorological space system, will provide round-the-clock all-weather monitoring of the Earth's surface and the seas of the Arctic Ocean.