The launch of Russia’s first Unified Space System satellite Tundra has been delayed until June 2015 for technical reasons, Russian business daily Kommersant has reported, citing sources in the space industry and Russia’s Defense Ministry. The satellite was due to enter orbit in 2013 and replace the outmoded OKO-1 satellites.
Tundra is designed to detect the launch of ballistic missiles and forms part of Russia’s missile early warning system. In 2014, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called the creation of the Unified Space System “one of the key guidelines for the development of Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces.”
Ret. Col. Mikhail Tymoshenko, a military expert, told RBTH that the delay may be due to problems with the subcontractors who provide the project with electronic components. Russia’s electronics industry has been stagnant for the last few decades, and real investment began only in 2011.
“This satellite is vitally important for Russia’s defense today,” Tymoshenko said.
Sources in the Defense Ministry say that the situation with Tundra is being personally overseen by Sergei Shoigu.
The specifications of the new meet the modern safety measures. Tundra is able to transmit information for the detection of the estimated target area of ballistic and other rockets, including those launched from underwater.
The satellite also features an inbuilt command and control system permitting the transmission of a signal notifying of a retaliatory strike.
The last OKO-1 device went out of service in April 2014, and the two 73D6 remaining in orbit were able to operate only three hours a day.
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