Bars-M is the second incarnation of the Bars project, which was started in the mid 1990ies to develop a successor for the Komtea class of area surveillance satellites. The original Bars project was halted in the early 2000s. In 2007, TsSKB-Progress was contracted for Bars-M, for which reportedly the Yantar-based service module was replaced by a new developed advanced service module. The Bars-M satellites feature an electro-optical camera system called Karat, which is developed and built by the Leningrad Optical Mechanical Association (LOMO), and a dual laser altimeter instrument to deliver topographic imagery, stereo images, altimeter data and high-resolution images with a ground resolution around 1 meter.
The Soyuz 2.1A converted the flight control system from analog to digital, which allowed launch from fixed platforms. It also allowed big fairings and payloads.
Progress Rocket Space Centre, formerly known as TsSKB-Progress, is a space science and aerospace research company which is known for manufacturing launch vehicles and satellites. Most notably, Progress Rocket Space Centre is the manufacturer of Soyuz launch vehicles.INFO WIKI
A classified mapping satellite rode a Soyuz rocket into space Thursday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, the fifth space mission of the year to deploy a Russian military payload into orbit.