Updated 5:38 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will build a network of advanced laser-optical and radar stations in the next four years to boost its space object recognition capability, the Defense Ministry said Friday.
"The new network will largely improve space monitoring by Aerospace Defense Forces, expand the range of controlled orbits and decrease the size of detected objects by 2-3 times," the ministry's spokesman, Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said in a statement.
According to Zolotukhin, the first new stations will be built in the Altai and the Primorye Territories. The network will comprise over 10 advanced space monitoring stations by 2018.
Aerospace Defense Forces is a branch of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, responsible for providing the country’s military and political leadership with timely and accurate information on possible missile attacks and monitoring the situation in space.
Last year, following an explosion of a meteorite over Russia’s Urals region, Aerospace Defense Forces announced its plans to develop a series of measures aimed at protecting Russia from meteorites and other space objects. The meteorite, which exploded above the Ural Mountains city of Chelyabinsk, is estimated to have weighed about 10,000 metric tons and measured about 17 meters (around 56 feet) in diameter. The blast left about 1,500 people injured, mostly by glass shattered by the shockwave.
In September 2013, the US department for Civil Defense and Emergencies and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) signed an agreement on joint efforts aimed at combating asteroid threats the Earth might face in future.
However, in July this year, the deal was abolished over the situation in Ukraine.