The "Bars-M" digital mapping satellite is used for military intelligence. In contrast to the scouts of the "Cobalt-M" type, launched in 2004-2015, this device transmits digital images. Sending the footage to the Earth in special capsules is no longer necessary. That's just "Bars-M" weighs 4 tons. Of course, compared with almost 7-ton "Cobalt-M" is a big progress. But it still had to be launched with the help of the same medium-sized Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle.
The St. Petersburg-based design bureau Arsenal will assemble a modernized reconnaissance imagery satellite for Russia’s Defense Ministry, the design bureau said in its annual report on 26 June 2017. "In 2015-2016, the production volume declined as the output of item 11F695 [Kobalt] was terminated but in 2017 a new product will be delivered," the report said.
The development of a new optical intelligence platform, which received the designation "Bars" (GRAU index 17F112), began in the early 1990s. It was intended to replace outdated satellites of the Yantar-1KFT series . The key component of the platform was to be the optical system "Jashma", developed by the Belarusian subcontractor of OJSC "Peleng". The program was curtailed by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation in 2005, two planned devices were not completed. After the termination of the last spacecraft "Kometa" in 2005, which carried out cartographic tasks, Russia could not finish the creation of a worthy replacement.
The project was revived in 2008 under the name "Bars-M" (modernized). The Russian enterprise TsSKB Progress was tasked to develop a new satellite platform that will be equipped with a payload in the form of an optical scanner manufactured by the Leningrad Optical Mechanical Association LOMO. Onboard the Bars-M satellite, a high-resolution camera is installed as a payload, capable of performing a survey of the earth's surface with a resolution of less than 1 meter, as well as a wide-angle medium resolution camera intended for survey and topographic shooting (can be used for stereo images using a dual laser altimeter).
Comparing the dimensions, the Bars-M satellite with a mass of more than 4 tons is much lighter than similar space vehicles like "Persona" or "Resource-P". The platform also received its own propulsion system SVIT (Traction Impulse Release System), working on a hydrazine - amyl fuel mixture. "Bars-M" became the first apparatus of " TsSKB-Progress " without a sealed compartment, which increased the service life of the device to 5 years.
The spacecraft "Bars-M" was supposed to go into space in 2012, but because of technical problems, its launch was repeatedly postponed and canceled.
The first launch on February 27, 2015 at 14:01 (MSC) from the launch pad 43/4 of the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The Kosmos 2503 launch, the flight of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket, as well as the separation of the Bars-M satellite from the upper stage were held in the regular mode.
On Thursday, March 24, a successful launch of the Soyuz-2 space rocket (RKN) with a spacecraft in the interests of the Russian Defense Ministry was conducted by the combat calculation of the Space Forces of the Air Force (VCS) from the State Plesetsk Test Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region. A few hours later, the online edition of RussianSpaceWeb.com published an article by Anatoly Zak "Bars-M: The First Russian Digital Cartographer"
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