The russians are back in the space race
It was taken by a Russian spacecraft, a new weather satellite called Elektro-L. It’s now orbiting Earth on a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator, after being launched on January 20 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, on board a Zenit rocket.
This is the first major spacecraft fully developed in post-Soviet Russia, developed by NPO Lavochkin for the Russian Federal Space Agency. This is a major step in the country’s aerospace industry, after two decades of trouble developing anything new and living from the past glories of the Soviet system (which are great on their own right).
Elektro-L is a 1620-kilogram beast, consuming 700W from its 1.7kW solar panels. Its design is modular, with a service part called Navigator and a payload part that contains the spacecraft weather monitoring equipment. A future satellite, the space telescope Spektr-R, will use the same base module with a different payload.