April 13, 2024

Soyuz launches Resurs-P4 imaging satellite

Soyuz launches Resurs-P4 imaging satellite

A Soyuz-2-1b rocket blasted off on a mission to revive Russia’s prematurely defunct Resurs-P satellite constellation on March 31, 2024. The vehicle carried the fourth spacecraft in the series designed to provide higher-resolution images of the Earth’s surface. Earth among the country’s civil orbital assets.

The Resurs-P4 mission in summary:

Useful load Resurs-P nº 4 (47KS.0000-0 R150004)
Launch vehicle Soyuz-2-1b No. S15000-067
Payload fairing SZB 17S13A 71000-0 No. V 15000-003
Launch site Baikonur, location 31
Release date and time March 31, 2024, 12:36:45 Moscow time
Planned orbit Synchronized with the Sun: 510 kilometers, inclination: 97.28 degrees
Mission Status Success
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Development of Resources-P4

On December 22, 2014, Roskosmos issued contract No. 353-S083/14/407, assigning RKTs Progress, the country’s main imaging satellite developer, the construction of Resurs satellites No. 4 and 5. It was expected that the new pair introduced notable improvements compared to the trio of its predecessors. Firstly, Roskosmos planned to replace a wide-angle camera, ShMSA-SR, with resolution between 60 and 120 meters with a second high-resolution camera, ShMSA-VR, on vehicles #4 and #5 in response to user demand. O Izvestia The newspaper quoted RKTs Progress head Aleksandr Kirilin as saying that the new satellites would be equipped with a dual high-resolution lens system that would almost double the swath of the Earth’s surface imaged by the satellite. The upgraded multispectral system would be supported by common avionics, Kirilin said.

Furthermore, following technical problems with the data transmission system of two previous satellites, RKTs Progress subcontracted the development of its new version to RKS Corporation in Moscow, which promised to double the downlink rates for satellite-to-ground imagery for 600 megabits per second.

Roskosmos also removed the Nuklon scientific instrument and BRK AIS ship identification system payloads from the satellite’s instrumentation package. (1036)

Known specifications of the Resurs P4 satellite:

Picture Mode High detail Hyperspectral Wide range
Linear resolution at nadir 1 meter (panchromatic)
3.0-4.0 meters (multispectral)
25.0 – 30.0 meters 12.0 meters (panchromatic)
23.8 meters (multispectral)
Range 38 kilometers 25 kilometers 97 kilometers (one canal)
180 kilometers (two channels)
Geolocation Accuracy 10-15 meters 50-60 meters 20-30 meters (panchromatic)
40-50 meters (multispectral)
Average image coverage

0.080 million square kilometers per day for a single ground station

Data transmission rates

150, 300 and 600 megabits per second

Spacecraft mass

5,920 – 6,275 kilograms

Daily energy delivery

1,130 watts during controlled flight; 365 watts without attitude control

Projected useful life

5 years

However, the start of active work on Resurs-P4 and -P5 coincided with new Western sanctions on the supply of aerospace components, mainly electronics, to Russia following the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea. It was now necessary to find substitutes on the world market or develop national equivalents.

After about two years of searching for a solution, Roskosmos issued another contract (No. 353-8532A/16/279) on December 2, 2016, ordering RKTs Progress to rework the design documentation to incorporate in-house built avionics into seven different Resurs-P satellite systems, including imaging payload, radio equipment, onboard storage, telemetry measurement system and flight control computers. The effort took years to complete.

As of 2015, launches of Resurs-P4 and -P5 were scheduled for 2017 and 2018 respectively, but as 2017 progressed, the satellites were first promised to fly in 2018 and 2019 and then in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

In early 2019, as the pair was under construction, the launch of Resurs-P4 was scheduled for November 2020, however, earlier that year, the launch was moved to the first quarter of 2021.

The situation was complicated by the fact that Resurs-P2’s orbit failed way ahead of its time in 2017, while Resurs-P3 was seriously hampered by technical problems in the same year. Ironically, the original Resurs-P1 lasted the longest, before closing its doors in the fall of 2021, thus leaving Roskosmos and its customers without a spacecraft of this class.

By early 2022, the Resurs-P4 was largely assembled and undergoing testing at RKTs Progress in Samara, but at least some of its equipment was not expected until the spring of that year, according to company head Aleksandr Kirilin. He probably meant a new generation data transmission system, which turned out to be very late. At the end of 2022, the launch of Resurs-P4 fell to 2023, while Resurs-P nº 5 moved to 2025.

Resurs-P development team:

main contractor

Progress of AO RKTs

Geoton-L1 optical-electronic telescope, OEA

PAO Krasnogorsky Zavod

Sangur-1U image reception and processing system, SPPI

NPP Opteks, branch of RKTs Progress

Hyperspectral Imaging System, GSA

PAO Krasnogorsky Zavod

Onboard high-speed radio transmission system, BA VRL


Integrated calculation system, VHL


Motion Control System

Progress of AO RKTs

  • Local vertical infrared sensor, IKPMV

KP Kvant NPP


  • Power gyroscope complex, 14M533


  • Kinetic Momentum Discharge System, SSKM


  • Fiber Optic Angular Velocity Measurement Unit, BIUS-VOA

Antares nuclear power plant

  • Fiber Orbit Angular Velocity Meter and Accelerometer, IUS-VOA

Antares nuclear power plant

Progress of AO RKTs

On-board equipment of the command and measurement system, BA KIS


Integrated coordinate synchronization and timing device, BSKVU


Integrated data and telemetry system, BITS BITS2Ts-7M


Integrated data and telemetry system, BITS BITS2Ts-7M


Command translation and power distribution system, STKRP

Progress of AO RKTs

Satellite navigation system

Progress of AO RKTs

Power system

Progress of AO RKTs

PAO Saturn

PAO Saturn

  • Current automation and stabilization complex, KAS

NTTs Polyus

Thermal Control System, SOTR

Progress of AO RKTs

Integrated propulsion system, ODU


Resurs-P4 launch campaign

Preparation of Resurs-P No. 4 at the launch site included the following steps:

  • Delivery to Baikonur;
  • Electrical testing of the spacecraft at its processing site;
  • Supply of the spacecraft’s Thermal Control System, SOTR;
  • Testing the spacecraft in the vacuum chamber;
  • Loading propulsion components on board the spacecraft at the fueling station;
  • Final operations with the spacecraft at the processing site;
  • Assembly of the payload section (integration with payload fairing);
  • Integration of the spacecraft with the launch vehicle;
  • Launch vehicle operations with the spacecraft on the launch pad.

On May 20, 2023, RKTs Progress announced that the assembly of the Resurs-P No. 4 satellite had been completed and that the spacecraft would be sent to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the near future.

In September 2023, the launch was expected in mid-November 2023, but by that time it had already slipped to 2024. In early 2024, the launch was scheduled for March 30, 2024.

According to Roskosmos, preparation for refueling the spacecraft began at Baikonur around March 7, 2024, and the spacecraft itself was delivered to the launch site on March 11, 2024. At the time, the launch was still expected on March 30. March, 2024, but on March 27, the KazTAG news agency reported that it was delayed by 24 hours to March 31, 2024, apparently due to launch facility processing at Site 31, following a 48-hour delay in the launch of Soyuz MS-25 from March 21 to 23, 2024 The launch of the Soyuz-2-1b rocket from the launch pad took place as planned on March 29, 2024. A backup launch opportunity was available exactly 24 hours later.

Resurs-P4 launch profile


A Soyuz-2-1b rocket, carrying the Resurs-P4 satellite, lifted off on March 31, 2024, at 12:36:45 Moscow time (5:36 am EDT) from Site 31 on Baikonur.

To place Resurs-P4 into a near-polar orbit, the launch vehicle headed almost exactly north of Baikonur to align its Earth path with an orbit inclined 97.276 degrees toward the Equator in order to give the satellite almost coverage. global surface area of ​​the Earth.

The first stage’s four boosters crashed less than two minutes after liftoff and later crashed into launch zone No. 120 in the Aktyubinsk and Kostanai regions of Kazakhstan.

The rocket’s core (second) stage continued firing until 4.7 minutes into the flight and then separated, reentering the dense atmosphere and crashing into launch zone No. 401, near the border of the Sverdlovsk and Perm regions of Russia. In the next two seconds, the tail of the third stage, which served as an interface with the core stage, divided into three sections and separated from the third stage, with the aim of impacting the same launch zone as the second stage. The same area also received the two halves of the payload fairing, which were discarded 1.2 seconds after separation from the tail.

After firing for 9 minutes and 17 seconds, the third stage firing completed the satellite’s orbital insertion into an initial orbit of 260 by 475 kilometers, releasing it about three seconds after engine cutoff.

Orbital maneuvers

During the fifth day of flight, Resurs-P4 will likely fire its own propulsion system during orbits 54 and 64 to enter a nearly circular Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude between 468 and 477 kilometers. The orbital parameters must allow the satellite to revisit the same areas of Earth under similar lighting conditions as the Sun, thus resulting in consistent images.

Resurs-P4 has a designed service life of at least five years and must be capable of a controlled deorbit over a safe area of ​​the ocean after the end of service.

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