A Russian Firm, NPO Mashinostroyenia has begun the development of small spy satellites with an active phased array radar.
The development follows on the heels of a similar U.S. project to set up small spy satellites in low-earth orbit that are cost effective compared to large satellites orbiting in geostationary orbit. In July 2020, L3Harris said a constellation of small satellites will provide imagery to military operators on the ground.
The small radar satellites with an active phase array may be used to monitor the Arctic and fits well into the planned creation of the multifunctional Russian orbital system "Sphere."
"It is difficult for optical satellites to work there - it is either dark or cloudy. Radar allows all this," Alexander Leonov, General Director, General Designer of NPO Mashinostroyenia, said on the sidelines of the Academic Conference on Astronautics on Friday.
The company is manufacturing two Kondor-FKA radar satellites and developing a modernized Kondor-FKA-M, according to the Russian media.
Leonov added that the vehicles will be launched in groups of several units on one rocket. "We are specially making such an arrangement to accommodate up to six or eight vehicles on one Soyuz rocket," he said.