A Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket was launched from Website 43/4 on the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Dec. 1 at 12:10 AM Moscow time (21:10 UTC on Nov. 30). Onboard was seemingly a Lotos-S digital intelligence satellite tv for pc for the Russian army.
There’s a risk that extra payloads are to be deployed by the first satellite tv for pc later, primarily based on unclear state information experiences. Solely Lotos-S1 No. 6 and its Soyuz higher stage had been initially cataloged in orbit.
The payload was deployed right into a 240 by 900 km orbit, inclined 67.1 levels. This can be a constant switch orbit with the opposite Lotos-S1 satellites, which function in an roughly round 900 km orbit.
The Lotos sequence type a alternative for Soviet-era Tselina and US-PM surveillance satellites. For the reason that Nineties, the Liana program, composed of the Lotos and Pion satellites, has aimed to carry upgraded and more-capable reconnaissance and intelligence satellites into Russia’s arsenal.
Lotos satellites exchange the Tselina-2 sequence of satellites. First launched starting within the Nineteen Eighties and repeatedly launched for over twenty years, Tselina-2 satellites are tasked with digital indicators intelligence (ELINT). ELINT is a course of involving intercepting radio indicators and relaying collected data for army evaluation.
Wednesday’s Lotos-S1 No. 6 joins a community of six different Lotos satellites, one in all which is a developmental model of the spacecraft launched in 2009 named Lotos-S. The primary launch of an operational model, Lotos-S1, occurred in December 2012, and the remaining two satellites within the sequence might be operational variants ordered by the Russian Ministry of Defence in September 2017.
Lotos spacecraft are baked on the Yantar satellite tv for pc bus, constructed by TsSKB Progress, which gives onboard propulsion and energy. The reconnaissance know-how, which is built-in into the bus, is constructed by the KB Arsenal Design Bureau, the prime contractor for the Liana program.
With the satellite tv for pc now in orbit, it is going to be renamed and numbered into the “Kosmos” nomenclature usually used with Russian army payloads. This latest Lotos-S1 satellite tv for pc is anticipated to be named Kosmos-2565.
Kosmos designations have been in use for the reason that Sixties and customarily serve to supply obscurity to the precise id of payloads. These designations are just like the USA-x designations that categorised satellites launched by the USA obtain for comparable functions.
The Soyuz-2.1b launcher used on Wednesday is one in all three energetic variants within the Soyuz household of rockets, and appears essentially the most just like the early Soyuz rockets, utilizing 4 liquid-fueled boosters surrounding a central core. This design can also be used on the Soyuz-2.1a however will not be used on the Soyuz-2.1v, which doesn’t use the 4 facet boosters and as an alternative makes use of solely a single core.
Different variants of the Vostok rocket embrace the Molniya variant, including a fourth stage, permitting it to achieve the extremely elliptical orbit of the identical identify.
Lotos-S1 No. 6 lifted off aboard Soyuz-2.1b from Website 43/4 on the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Plesetsk is one in all three Cosmodromes at present utilized by the Russian Navy in addition to Roscosmos, Russia’s state-owned house company. The opposite two Cosmodromes at present in use are Baikonur Cosmodrome, situated within the former Soviet Union-incorporated nation of Kazakhstan, and Vostochny Cosmodrome, situated in Russia’s far east.
Through the Sixties, the previous R-7 pads had been repurposed to permit launches of R-7-derived launch automobiles, such because the Vostok rocket in addition to the Soyuz household of launch automobiles. The primary orbital launch from Plesetsk occurred on March 17, 1966, when a Vostok-2 launched Kosmos-112, a first-generation Soviet optical reconnaissance satellite tv for pc to low Earth orbit.
Wednesday’s launch was the second from Website 43 at Plesetsk in underneath three days. On Nov. 28, one other Soyuz-2.1b launched from the neighboring Website 43/3 carrying the ultimate GLONASS-M navigation satellite tv for pc.
(Lead photograph: Soyuz-2.1b lifts off from Website 43/4 with Lotos-S1 No. 6. Credit score: Roscosmos)