MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) – The first group of Russian "smart" mini-satellites should be launched into orbit in 2016, Mikhail Sonkin, the Deputy Governor of Russia's Tomsk Region, said Wednesday.
"The signing of an agreement on the creation of an association to carry out projects in the sphere of the development of groups of miniature satellites is in progress…The launch [of the satellites] is planned for 2016," Sonkin, who is responsible for the scientific and educational complex and innovation policy in the region, said at the Open Innovations Forum in Moscow.
A number of Russian universities and space industry companies are expected to join the association, which will work on creating software to control groups of mini-satellites and improve their interaction with each other.
According to Sonkin, members of the association, which will include Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) and Tomsk State University (TSU), will also be working on developing new materials for the space industry and on establishing communication networks in remote areas.
Last month, Chairman of the Presidium of the Tomsk Scientific Center of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergey Psakhie announced that Russian scientists were planning to create unique mini-satellites capable of group interaction. The satellites, similar to CubeSat developed in the United States, would be able to self-educate and repair each other without leaving the Earth's orbit.