A Shtil rocket (RSM-54) launched on Friday (twice delayed from Wednesday) from a Russian strategic nuclear-powered submarine “Ekaterinburg” – currently in position in the Barents Sea for a launch time of 18:50 UTC, carrying the Kompas-2 satellite, part of a family of satellites that can detect earthquake forerunners.
The spacecraft is part of a family of Kompas (Compass) microsatellites, with Kompas-2’s role to study global and regional geological faults in an effort to plan searches of mineral resources and to forecast destructive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
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‘The Northern Fleet on Friday at 10:50 pm (0450 AEST) went ahead with the launch of a scientific satellite Kompas-2 from the Barents Sea with the help of a Shtil launcher,’ a navy spokesman said.
The spacecraft features a Radio Frequency Analyzer and a HF radio spectrometer that has been developed jointly by the Space Research Centre (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland, and IRF in Uppsala.
While the Kompas range will help the ‘development of the methods of monitoring and forecasting of natural disasters on the base of coordinated monitoring at the earth and from space the pre-earthquake phenomena,’ according to a Russian outline document by Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation of the Russian Academy of Science, Russia will also be increasing its knowledge in microsatellite technology.
Just this year NASA launched ST-5, consisting of three microsats in what is a potentially large future market.
The microsat range of Kompas (Compass) will also aid the development in the methods of monitoring of man made catastrophes, plus the study of electro dynamical coupling of the atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere.
Weighing in at just 80kg, the microsat range is building a constellation in a circular orbit of 400 km and at an inclination of 79 degrees.
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Also part of Compass-2’s device range are instruments that should make it possible to study electromagnetic emission in the broad spectrum range (up to 15 MHz), obtain plasma distribution structure and measure flows of eneregetic particles. This should help to produce detailed description of the physical phenomena in the ionosphere during buildup and development phases of different anomalous phenomena.
The first international Complex Orbital Magneto-Plasma Autonomous Small Satellite, or Compass, was orbited in December 2001 as part of dual payload together with the Meteor 3M, a Russian weather satellite, to provide insight into possible links between Earth’s crust and magnetosphere behavior
Compass (1) carried with it a range of instruments that included a very low /low frequency wave spectr-analyzer; radio frequency wave spectr-analyzer; GPS/radiotomografy receivers; UHF transmitter and a charged partical detector.
The successful mission of Compass one resulted in the upcoming Compass 2 launch – and is likely to lead to a follow-up Compass 3 effort.
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