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Sitronics Group Company to invest several billion roubles in its satellite fleet

Sistema JSFC under the leadership of Vladimir Evtushenkov intends to invest several billion roubles in the development of Sputnix’ satellite fleet. Within the next two years, the company will launch up to 100 satellites of varying purpose, and offer its proprietary satellite images to clients via its online service.

Sputnix Company that in 2021 was purchased by Vladimir Evtushenkov’s Sistema, is now planning to launch up to 100 small satellites. The investment in this project will amount to several billion roubles. The company’s income will come from sales of Earth Remote Sounding (ERS) output via a dedicated marketplace, as reports Vedomosti newspaper quoting the company’s official presentation, as well as Sitronics BoD Chairman and Sistema JSFC Managing Partner Alexey Katkov and Sitronics Group President Nikolay Pozhidaev.

Currently Sputnix orbital cluster consists of three satellites. Next year, the number of space modules in the Earth’s orbit will be increased to 22, as states the company’s presentation. The President of Sitronics, Sistema’s subsidiary company, who is managing Sputnix, told us that this project may involve cubesats using the OrbiCraft-Pro platform. The company now uses this platform to develop the mid-resolution ERS satellite “Zorkiy”. The radar-location satellite Atomsat is being developed based on the Pallada platform, as confirmed the official representative of Sitronics.

Sputnix is intending to develop the satellite Internet of Things using its own satellite fleet, with an option of texting from either stationary or mobile facilities. This service is intended for industrial and FEC facilities, including the ones on the Northern Sea Route. Sputnix is planning to monitor the carbon footprint, deforestation, and fires from the space, as well as offer the radar Earth sounding service.

“Estimates of the Russian space data market differ. According to our estimate, this market’s capacity today reaches 10 billion roubles. We’d like to become an important player on this market,” said Katkov. The cost of launching a small spacecraft into orbit is about 10 million roubles. The cost of its production is about the same, clarified the interviewee. Therefore, the cost of creating the satellite fleet of 100 satellites will cost over 2 billion roubles.

According to Andrey Ionin, who is the corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after K.E. Tsiolkovsky, the announced production estimate is underestimated. Nikolay Kazantsev, the chief specialist of the Institute of Geography of RAS thinks that these satellites production and launch into orbit will require at least 2 billion roubles. Roscosmos encourages private initiatives on the remote sensing data market, and is ready to assist and support its partners, commented the state corporation’s representative talking about the Sitronics project.

According to Katkov, Sputnix will establish the marketplace at the same time as expanding its spacecraft cluster. The platform will offer its clients the Earth sensing data — images from national and international spacecraft. In Russia, Sputnix, unlike its competitors, will have data from its proprietary satellites, noted Katkov. “We’ll establish a vertical structure; we will create spacecraft, control them in orbit, acquire data from them, and provide related services,” said the Sistema’s Managing Partner.

There are successful satellite data marketplaces in the world, for example the service provided by Planet, an American company that owns a whole constellation of satellites, said Olga Gershenzon, the founder of Lorett. According to her estimate, the Earth sensing data market in Russia is virtually non-existent. The new legislative initiatives of Roscosmos are aimed at monopolization of the market to benefit the state entities. Marketplace development without satellite data purchase will cost dozens of millions of roubles, according to the interviewee’s opinion. Among the companies offering Earth sensing data from international spacecraft and the related services Kazantsev named Sovzond and Scanex.

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