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"Five steps to the stars", an interview with Alexander Shumilin for newspaper "7 days"

"Five steps to the stars", an interview with Alexander Shumilin for newspaper "7 days"

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"Five steps to the stars", an interview with Alexander Shumilin for newspaper "7 days"

The scientific and technological superiority of the country is judged by its achievements in the development of near-Earth and stellar space. One of our satellites is now operating as part of the orbiting constellation of Earth remote sensing.

Three Belarusians visited and returned from Earth orbit: cosmonauts Pyotr Klimuk, Vladimir Kovalenok, Oleg Novitsky. What are the prospects of Belarus entering the club of countries knowing its way around the Universe? When our people will fly to other planets, at least to the moon? We asked about this the chairman of the State Committee on Science and Technology of Belarus, Alexander Shumilin.

- Belarus does not stand aside, while others are engaged in research of near-Earth space and the Universe. Our country is a full member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The recognition that Belarus is a space power was the holding of the XXXI Congress of the Association of Space Flight Participants in September 2018 in Minsk.

All over the world, work is underway to study outer space, especially the moon and Mars. So in Russia there is an interesting experiment on preparing people for landing on the moon. The representative of Belarus is also participating there. Everything takes place on Earth, but under the conditions of the lunar surface: lengthy experiments are conducted to survive and control this process. This, perhaps, would not have happened if the Belarusian-Russian developments in the space sector, most of which were carried out under the scientific and technical programs of the Union State, did not receive international recognition.

- Alexander Gennadievich, the leadership of the Soviet Union in the field of outer space exploration was obvious. And what is the path to the stars of independent Belarus?

- Nowadays we work alongside with Russia - through cooperation on the scientific and technical programs of the Union State, which became the basis for the integration of Belarus and Russia in the space sector. The first of them, Cosmos-BR (1999-2003), reanimated the lost cooperative ties in this industry. It urged the emergence of competitive tools and technologies, combined the efforts of both countries in space exploration.

Fulfilling the second - the Cosmos-SG program (2004–2007), Russian and Belarusian scientists developed the key elements of the new generation on-board microsatellite systems and began creating a unified system for providing space information to various consumers based on the development of new technologies and promising materials.

The next step was the development of the Concept of creating a multifunctional space system of the Union State - an integrated system of ground and orbital space assets in Russia and Belarus.

So the third SG program of this Cosmos-NT series (2008–2011) appeared. It provided for the creation of constituent elements of the space system of the Union State. Among the most important are the universal microsatellite platform and the experimental model of the new Soyuz-Sat-O microsatellite, a unified station for receiving extraterrestrial information from microsatellites, including the Belarusian spacecraft and the Russian Canopus-V, currently operating Terra-Modis foreign devices, "NOAA", "Meteor-M." Also, Belarusian and Russian experts created equipment for infrared sensing of the Earth, improved equipment for monitoring the flight path of launch vehicles, etc.

At the same time, many Cosmos-NT works were carried out to a greater extent in the interests of Belarusian sectors of the economy. In particular, the technology of the Space Information Reception Center, which is part of the structure of the Belarusian space system for remote sensing of the Earth, was improved. A big role here was played by BSU. The Center for Aerospace Education was opened at the university, on the basis of the geological faculty of the Belarusian State University, a training ground was organized for studying the student spacecraft launched into low Earth orbit in 2018, the Institute of Physics of the NAS of Belarus provided optical correction and target calibration of the results of laser sounding of the extraterrestrial atmosphere.

- What tasks on the development of extraterrestrial space do scientists of Belarus solve today?

- The main issue remains the production of new materials, technologies and equipment for space technology. It should be more reliable and weigh less. New solutions for small satellites, unique structural nanomaterials, systems for their energy supply and thermal control - these and other innovations are developed by scientists of the National Academy of Sciences under the fourth program of this subject: “Technology-SG” (2016–2020).

The creation of an optical center, a line for the production of silicon carbide mirrors for telescopes that will be operated by satellites and other objects that have moved beyond Earth, is nearing completion. The Center for Materials Science of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus has developed experimental samples of electromagnetic screens that can protect a small spacecraft from radiation. Institute of Physics named after B.I. Stepanova is developing a laser micromotor, using which the satellite will be able to adjust its orbit and coordinates in space. The task of the Institute of heat and mass transfer is to develop a small-sized (up to 5 cm in diameter) electric-discharge traction element for this plasma micromotor. Scientists have relied on the properties of a plasma capable of accelerating to a particle velocity of about 200 km / s.

Researchers at the Institute of Powder Metallurgy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus are working on cooling systems and thermoregulation of devices on small spacecraft, combining previously incompatible materials in the body of flat heat pipes: structural aluminum and coolant - water. Unique technologies that have no analogues in the world are developed in other divisions of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

- Will it come to creating satellites that enable scientists to study both our planet and the distant galaxies of the universe?

- The launch of a new Russian-Belarusian Earth remote sensing satellite is planned in 2023. When it is created, the operating experience of the existing Belarusian spacecraft and Russian ones - the Canopus series will be taken into account. The preliminary design of the new satellite is done by Roscosmos, the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and our enterprise Peleng.

From 2020, its detailed design and manufacturing will begin. The Russians will develop and manufacture a service platform for the spacecraft, assemble, test the satellite, and launch it into orbit. For Belarusians - providing optoelectronic target equipment. Together we will create elements of ground-based infrastructure for satellite control, reception, processing and dissemination of information received. To this end, scientists from Russia and Belarus are developing a new - the fifth - space-based program "Integration - SG", the implementation of which will begin in 2020.

Source: 7 days.