The Russian space industry is in crisis due to technological sanctions imposed by the US and the EU. In fact, we are paying for the fact that in previous years we did not save and did not develop the production of microelectronics, relying on purchases of the electronic component base abroad.
Russian satellites consist of imported components on 30 – 75 percent. The newer and more functional the spacecraft, the more foreign stuffing in it. Now our industry is trying to master critical technologies as a matter of urgency, but it is unlikely that we will quickly catch up on lost time.
Technological restrictions on the part of the United States began even before the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine. In the spring of 2013, the first refusal to sell the equipment for the Ministry of Defense apparatus Geo-IK-2 was noted in a long time.
Its purpose is geodetic measurements of high accuracy, determination of the coordinates of the poles, fixing the movement of lithospheric plates, tides of the Earth, and the speed of rotation of the Earth. The orbital grouping of the system should consist of two vehicles, the first of which is planned to be launched in May of this year from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.
“ISS them. Reshetnev, a manufacturer of satellites Geo-IK-2, bought a complete set for the spacecraft in the spring of 2013. Exports of US (including partially, for example, tested and adjusted in the US) parts for military and dual-use systems are regulated by the ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) - a set of rules established by the federal government for the export of defense goods and services.
The supply of ECB categories of military (for use in military systems) and space (radiation-resistant components) in the Russian Federation is possible with the permission of the Bureau of Industry and Security of the United States Department of Commerce (BIS). And just in the case of the “Geo-IK-2” device, “good” was not received for the purchase of parts, which was explained by a general political background: the cooling of Russian relations with the US was already felt, the scandal with Edward Snowden was raging all over the world, the situation in Syria, which then almost ended with the intervention of the American troops (which was prevented by the position of Russia). In response, Washington has complicated the procedure for purchasing components.
But in 2013 there were still alternative channels and the equipment that could not be obtained in the USA, ISS was purchased in Europe.
We can do something ourselves
In exactly the same way, in 2013, the Ministry of Defense sought to resolve the issue with radar satellites. They wanted to order the system from the Franco-German Airbus Defense and Space (ADS). The competition among Russian companies (which, by tradition, would have bought the payload from ADS and installed on its satellite platform) was open, it was won by the Khimki NPO. S.A. Lavochkin. The contract amount is almost 70 billion rubles. It was about the latest radar system, the capabilities of which allow you to build an accurate 3D model of the Earth, as well as track objects on its surface.
Then followed the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine and the sanctions of the West in respect of defense products. Veto on the sale of military technology in Russia imposed itself Angela Merkel, according to Bloomberg. Agency sources estimated the contract at 973 million dollars. At the beginning of 2015, the Military Industrial Commission decided that the system would be created by the forces of Russian enterprises. An interdepartmental roadmap was agreed. In accordance with the approved draft design, the system should be built on the basis of five spacecraft, the first launch is scheduled for 2019 year. A key element of the system is an active phased antenna array for an onboard radar station. The technology of creating AFAR in principle is mastered by Russian manufacturers, but there are gaps in the part of the receiving-transmitting module. In accordance with the approved MIC "road map", Roslectronics should develop, test and show a receiving-transmitting module in action in the first half of this year.
From what was
Now we have to rely on our own resources when creating GLONASS navigation satellites. This year, the Ministry of Defense should take the system into normal operation. 75 percent of imported components is just about them, namely about the newest modification, the Glonass K-2 spacecraft.
Now the basis of the GLONASS orbital constellation is made up of the Glonass-M spacecraft, for the intended purpose 21 is used such a satellite. Their production has been discontinued, but there are still eight ready-made vehicles in stock. There are also two K-series satellites in orbit: the Glonass K-1 and the Glonass K-2. If you look at the federal target program GLONASS on 2012 – 2020, you will see that by 2020, Roskosmos planned to update the navigation grouping completely, replacing all Glonass-M with more modern K, which have a longer life span (10 against 7), better functionality (the signal is transmitted in more modern ranges and encodings), more precisely the clock. It is gratifying that they are Russian-made.
Atomic clocks - the heart of the navigation satellite. Its transmitters emit a signal of exact time and coordinates of the device at the moment. Having received information from several navigation satellites, the chip in the user device, whether it be a telephone or a navigator, calculates its coordinates. The more accurate the data it receives, the clearer the location is. The Glonass-M devices use cesium frequency standards. In the Glonass-K satellites, along with cesium, rubidium is also tested. In the next versions, it is planned to test the hydrogen frequency standard. In theory, this watch is the most accurate.
Technical improvements made it possible to hope that by the 2020 year the satellite fleet from Glonass-K would allow to achieve the accuracy of determining the coordinates at the level of the 0,5 meter - these are precisely the target indicators prescribed in the FTP GLONASS. But technological sanctions have made their adjustments. The lack of the possibility of a stable purchase of high-quality equipment led to the fact that last January the scientific and technical council of the Russian Space Systems (Roskosmos head organization for instrument engineering) determined that the onboard equipment of the new-generation serial satellite Glonass-K needs to be redesigned. That is, do not strive to repeat on their own K-2, made on imported components, but create a filling for a promising device, focused on the domestic ECB and the new circuit design.
It is not known how long it will take to design and production of the domestic Glonass satellite. The problem is that far from everything depends on Roskosmos - for the creation of ECB, the state corporation “Rostec” is now mainly responsible, namely its daughter - the “Roselectronika” concern, which unites 112 enterprises, research institutes and design bureaus.
For the time being, Glonass-K will be assembled from what is available and what will be able to be acquired abroad in one way or another. Roscosmos concluded with "ISS them. Reshetnev ”contract for the production of 11 satellites of a new generation: nine“ Glonass K-1 ”and two“ Glonass K-2 ”. The volume of the contract is 62 billion rubles, and in the ISS they do not hide the fact that each device will be assembled piece by piece and each time it will make its project documentation. That is what will be able to buy - from this and will do.
Pieces of demand
In 2014, Russian space equipment manufacturers had hope for China, which over the past decades has managed to create its own microelectronics. He gave this hope to himself. In August, Xo Numx, Vice President of the Great Wall State Industrial Corporation Jao Chunchao at a seminar in Moscow, said: “Now we are working to determine the list of products of interest to the Russian side. Until this point, the state control over the export of ECB was very strict. A mechanism is now being created that will make all Chinese space electronic components completely accessible to the Russian industry. ”
But hope for the Middle Kingdom rather quickly faded. Test samples delivered to the ISS and Lavochkin were not tested.
There remain two ways out of the crisis situation: wait for the early lifting of sanctions or re-create the microelectronic industry.
Some steps are already being taken. For example, in 2015, the development strategy of the Ruselectronics holding was adopted. It is planned that by 2019, 80 percent of the electronic component base of the satellite payload will be of domestic production. To this end, the total investment in the Ruselectronics holding in the next five years will amount to more than 210 billion rubles. It is planned to modernize the industrial sites where ECB is manufactured for space. It is embarrassing only that in our previous years efforts were made to create microelectronics production facilities. But in fact, all the announced major projects are carried out with great difficulty. Angstrem-T has not yet launched the production of microchips on equipment purchased from AMD in 2008 for a loan from VEB. The ambitious project Angstrom Plus, which envisages the creation in Zelenograd of the production of radiation-resistant electronic components for spacecraft and military products, stalled in 2013, due to shareholders' disagreements. Moreover, in 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Trade provided for the Angstrom Plus project budget financing in the amount of 50 as a percentage of its estimated cost in the Federal Target Program “Development of Electronic Component Base and Radio Electronics”. In 2011, the government-initiated project to create a radiation-resistant ECB in the Russian Space Systems OJSC (partially revived in 2015) stalled. As the practice of previous years has shown, in the case of production of ECB, even targeted budgetary support does not help much. The reason is generally clear: neither the state nor the private business can meet the demand for ECB in such a volume as to launch serious production for this. Roscosmos enterprises will buy dozens, perhaps hundreds of microcircuits, for the development of which billions of rubles can be spent, and there is no one else to offer them.
Under the conditions described, there is no reason to expect a quick update of the constellation of Russian satellites. However, the 2015 year was not so bad for the military: the Ministry of Defense received eight new spacecraft, which was a record figure lately. Although it is clear that the equipment was purchased mainly before the imposition of sanctions.
In 2015, three Rodnik-S communications satellites, three optical reconnaissance vehicles (Bars-M, Cobalt-M, Persona), a Tundra detection system satellite, and Garpun repeater were put into orbit. True, half of these devices are frankly outdated - “Spring” and “Cobalt” are to a large extent a legacy of Soviet times.
An interesting promising spacecraft "Kanopus-ST", unfortunately, lost due to abnormal launch in December last year. It was equipped with equipment for detecting submarines in the submerged state. The main instrument of this device was a radiometer, in this case it is a radar with a wavelength that allows you to see through the layers of water. The target device was made by STC "Cosmonite", which is part of the RCS.
But for the 2016 – 2017 years, the plans of the military are very modest. In February, the Ministry of Defense published a schedule of launches of military satellites on the website of public procurement of insurance services. It shows that by the end of 2017, the department plans to carry out only six launches. Two will be on the "Proton", that is, most likely in a geostationary orbit, where communications and retransmitters are usually located. Three launches will launch Soyuz 2.1b rockets. It is very likely that they are optical reconnaissance and mapping devices. On March 24, the Soyuz successfully launched a second Bars-M satellite into orbit. One launch is planned to be a light-class Soyuz 2.1.v carrier, which may indicate plans for the withdrawal of a bundle of low-orbit spacecraft.