Gazprom Space Systems has begun to establish a Space Monitoring Center, based at TSU
A joint working group made up of two groups of Tomsk State University and Gazprom Space Systems have launched a large-scale project. The ambitious plan of one of the best universities in the country and the world’s largest gas company is the creation of a regional space monitoring center based at TSU. Such an initiative, being of great importance for our region, has been supported and endorsed by the representatives of Gazprom and Tomsk Region Administration at the end of last year during the visit by Gazprom’s chairman, Alexey Miller, to TSU.

In late February, the sides discussed the development of a technical and economic study for the project in GSS’s telecommunications center in Schyolkovo, Moscow Region. The delegation from Tomsk was represented by the deputy governor for science and education and innovative policy, Alexey Knyazev, the rector of Tomsk State University Georgiy Meyer and TSU vice-rector for informatization Vladimir Demkin. The GSS side was represented by GSS CEO Dmitry Sevastyanov, GSS general designer Nikolai Sevastyanov and the heads of relevant departments. Thus the project was launched. On the eve of the launch, a videoconference took place of the first discussion with members of the joint working group held in TSU.

“Active work has started. Our primary goal is to reach a common vision of the concept and the results that we expect to achieve,” says TSU vice-rector for informatization Vladimir Demkin. “The project has a high degree of readiness and its feasibility will be formed by joint efforts in minimum time, and we expect to initiate cooperation with GSS as early as 2014.”

Gazprom already has a satellite data receiving and processing station in the city of Korolev, but its range is limited. Tomsk, because of its excellent geographical location will be another reference point, which will cover the rest of the territory of Russia from the Urals. It is planned that the Center will house 10 laboratories with the relevant specialized departments of the university and the academic institutes of Tomsk. They will process information from the satellites in the Earth’s orbit. First and foremost, pictures of territories will be used for the prevention of natural disasters. The data obtained will not only allow the observation of the development of high water or flooding, but also operational forecasts of flood zones and assessment of damage. Space monitoring will greatly facilitate the work of ecologists. In real time they will be able to obtain all the necessary information that will allow us to assess the state of ice and snow cover, monitor the condition of hydraulic structures, update the maps of forest management and add important natural features to them, and timely detect forest fires and observe their dynamics. The regional data center will be irreplaceable in all these areas.

The decisive factor behind the project is the fact that TSU is the only center in the Urals that possesses unique high-technology equipment and the necessary human resources. The regional center will be opened at the Supercomputer Information and Computing Center, which includes the supercomputer SKIF Cyberia, data center and Teleport.