Resurs-P1 mission


From the publisher: Pace of our development depends primarily on the level of support from our readers!

Resurs-P1 development

As of June 2008, the launch of Resurs-P was promised in December 2010. During 2010, the mission was planned for 2011. As of mid-2011, the launch was officially scheduled in April 2012, however by that time, it slipped to the third quarter of the same year.

In the fall of 2011, Department 1133 at TsSKB Progress conducted aircraft tests of the satellite's unique hyper-spectral payload, which would be used for the first time on the Russian-built spacecraft.

Preparations for launch

As of March 2012, the launch of Resurs-P was promised in August 2012. (562) As late as May 2012, the preparations still maintained the launch date in August or September.

By the end of June, the launch was set for Sept. 30, but by the beginning of August, the mission was postponed again to October 25. By the end of the same month, the launch was rescheduled for November 22 and by the beginning of October the mission was set for November 30, 2012. On Oct. 9, 2012, TsSKB Progress announced that the spacecraft had arrived to Baikonur. However on November 14, Roskosmos and TsSKB Progress announced that in order to confirm the projected lifetime of the spacecraft, light sensors manufactured by NPP Elar with the new technique and intended for the star trackers onboard the satellite had undergone additional tests. Based on the results of these trials, showing unacceptable results, a decision had been made to upgrade the instruments. The same problem reportedly delayed the launch of the second Persona reconnaissance satellite, (which used similar trackers) from 2012 to 2013.

As a result, the launch of Resurs-P was postponed from November 30, 2012, to the first quarter of 2013. By the end of the year there was hope that Resurs-P could fly as soon as February 22, 2013.

At the beginning of 2013, Russian press also quoted officials as saying that disagreements with Kazakhstan over Impact Site No. 120 north of Baikonur, where the first stage of the Soyuz rocket would fall during the flight, also contributed to the delay of the Resurs-P mission, however, its exact effect on the schedule is unclear. According to one poster on the online forum of the Novosti Kosmonavtiki magazine, Kazakhstan did not impose any restrictions on the use of Site No. 120 for 2013. The same source also reported that the problem with star trackers stemmed from the corrosive action on the sensors from fluorine or chlorine. Initially, it was believed that corrosive chemicals originated in a glue used to attach sensor's electronic components. Only after the affected parts were re-attached with a safer glue, it was discovered that a coating material on both sides of the sensor's glass contained fluorine, requiring further fixes.

In February 2013, the launch was set for June 18 and by April, as the problem with sensors was apparently resolved, it was delayed by just few days, until June 21. By the end of May 2013, the launch was re-scheduled from June 23 to June 25, 2013.

Launch of Resurs-P No. 1


A Soyuz-2-1b launch vehicle (No. 15000-013) with the Resurs-P No. 1 satellite was rolled out to the launch pad No. 6 at Site 31 in Baikonur on June 22, 2013. The launch was scheduled for 21:28:48 Moscow Summer Time on June 25. The launch vehicle would fly northward to enter orbit extending from the North pole to the South pole of the Earth to provide full coverage of the planet's surface. The spacecraft was expected to reach orbit 10 minutes later.

According to the mission control in Korolev, responsible for the spacecraft after its separation from the third stage of the launch vehicle, Resurs-P No. 1 would be released into an initial orbit, where it was expected to make 31 rotations about the Earth, followed by the first orbit correction. The spacecraft would then conduct two additional firings of its propulsion system during the 54th and 62nd orbits of its mission. These maneuvers would place the satellite into a Sun-synchronous and nearly circular orbit with an average altitude of 468 and 487 kilometers.

On October 1, 2013, Roskosmos announced that a meeting of the State Commission overseeing the project that conducted a day earlier declared the spacecraft and its support complex operational.

Resurs P1 ends its mission, breaks up in orbit

Although Resurs-P1 ceased boosting its orbit in 2017, the satellite was reported functioning until September 2021 and it was officially taken out of service at the end of December 2021, due to a failure of onboard equipment operating beyond its projected life span, according to its developer. It was predicted to reenter before the end of 2024.

On June 27, 2024, the US Space Command said that Resurs-P1 had broken up at around 16:00 UTC on June 26, 2024, generating around 100 detectable debris. The statement said that no immediate threats had been observed but on the evening of June 26, 2024, NASA reported that shortly after 9 p.m. EDT, crews aboard the ISS had been "instructed to shelter in their (three) respective spacecraft as a standard precautionary measure after it was informed of a satellite break-up at an altitude near the station" earlier in the day. According to the agency, the crews had remained in their return vehicles for around an hour, after which they resumed their normal operations aboard the ISS.

According to astrophysicist and space historian Jonathan McDowell, Resurs-P1 passed over Plesetsk, a test launch base for the Russian Nudol anti-satellite system (INSIDER CONTENT), around the time of its debris-generating event.

By the end of the day on June 27, 2024, a US company LeoLabs said that it had been tracking at least 180 debris from Resurs-P1 and it had expected that number to increase in the coming days. "We are actively analyzing the debris cloud to characterize it, identify a potential cause and estimate the impact," the company said.

On July 3, 2024, LeoLabs reported at least 250 debris from Resurs-P1 with their orbits reaching as high as 500 kilometers. Based on its preliminary analysis, the company concluded that the debris-generating event had most likely been caused by a "low intensity explosion." According to LeoLabs, it could have either external or internal origin.


Known specifications of the Resurs-P No. 1 (47KS) spacecraft:

Program cost
2.64 billion rubles 
Image resolution in panchromatic mode
1 meter
Image resolution in narrow spectral ranges
3-4 meters
Width of imaged area, when the satellite is pointed at nadir
38 kilometers
Number of spectral ranges that can be imaged simultaneously
From 1 to 6
Orbit type
Orbital altitude
475 kilometers
Orbital inclination
97.276 degrees toward the Equator
Projected life span
5 years
Dimensions of the spacecraft
Maximum length
7,930 millimeters
Maximum diameter
2,720 millimeters
Solar panel length
5,003 millimeters
Solar panel width
4,500 millimeters
Imaging system
Focal length
4,000 millimeters
Aperture diameter
500 millimeters
Field of view
5 degrees 12 minutes
A number of electronic conversion sensors
Hyper-spectral system
Number of channels
up to 216*
Spectral resolution
From 5 to 10 nanometers
Swath in nadir
30 kilometers
Spatial resolution in nadir
30 kilometers

*96 according to original technical assignment

insider content


Next chapter: Resurs-P2


Article by Anatoly Zak; Last update: July 3, 2024

Page editor: Alain Chabot; Last edit: March 30, 2024

All rights reserved

insider content



Pre-launch processing of Resurs-P satellite. Credit: TsSKB Progress


Resurs-P No. 1 is being prepared for fueling in Baikonur at the beginning of June 2013. Credit: Roskosmos


Solar panels were installed on Resurs-P No. 1 by June 14, 2013. Credit: Roskosmos


Resurs-P No. 1 satellite is being enclosed into a payload fairing of its Soyuz launcher. Credit: Roskosmos


Integration of the payload section with the Resurs-P No. satellite with the Soyuz rocket. Credit: Roskosmos


A Soyuz-2-1b rocket with the Resurs-P No. 1 satellite during its rollout to the launch pad on June 22, 2013. Credit: Roskosmos


Resurs-P No. 1 lifts off on June 25, 2013. Credit: TsENKI


A photo taken by the Resurs-P No. 1 spacecraft. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos