Roscosmos Needs 148 Launches To Put Over 600 Satellites Of Sfera Constellation Into Orbit

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 20th January, 2020) Russian space agency Roscosmos will need 148 launches of light, medium and heavy-lift rockets to put more than 600 satellites of multifunctional satellite constellation Sfera into orbit by 2030, according to the agency's preliminary launch program for the period.

Sfera, seen as a response to similar foreign systems OneWeb and Starlink, should include 638 satellites, including 334 are communication satellites, 55 navigation satellites and 249 remote Earth sensing devices.

In late 2019, it was reported that the entire Russian satellite constellation, including military devices, includes 164 satellites, of which 92 are civilian.

According to Roscosmos estimates, to put such many satellites within ten years, it will be necessary to launch 88 Soyuz-2.1b medium rockets, 36 Angara-1.2 light rockets and 24 Angara-A5 heavy-lift rockets. It was previously assumed that the entire orbital group would be launched by 25 Angara-A5 rockets.

Roscosmos indicated that the rockets' manufacturing is not included in the budget allocated for Sfera project, but did not specify the sources of this funding.

According to the government procurement website, the cost of manufacturing one Soyuz-2.1b rocket was 1.5 billion rubles ($24.4 million) at the end of 2019. The cost of one Angara-1.2 was 2.02 billion rubles ($32.8 million) as of June 2019, and one Angara-A5 more than 5 billion rubles ($81.2 million) as of 2018.

Thus, at current prices, almost 325 billion rubles ($5.28 billion) are needed to manufacture all needed rockets.

In July 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved Federal program to develop the Sfera system, which is expected to provide comprehensive communication, navigation and remote Earth sensing services.