Encyclopedia Astronautica
Orlets-2



yanmulti.jpg
Yantar multi-return
Yantar bus reconnaissance satellite with multiple re-entry capsules. This is believed to be layout of Orlets-1. Orlets-2 must have a considerably extended bus to accommodate even more capsules.
Russian military surveillance satellite. 4 launches, 1986.10.22 (GVM) to 2000.09.25 (Cosmos 2372).

Orlets-2 was a late-model Soviet photo-reconnaissance satellite, to be launched by the Zenit-2 launch vehicle, equipped with 22 return capsules, and have a 180 day design life. Only one was flown after the breakup of the Soviet Union since the prime contractor was in the Ukraine.

Following evaluation of flight trials in April-May 1977 it was concluded that the Yantar-2K was not capable of providing strategic warning of attack. Therefore three additional variants were developed, one of them the wide-spectrum detail and survey satellite Orlets. This featured a panoramic camera and drew on features of an existing draft project designated Yantar-6K. The redesigned spacecraft would be expandable, with Phase 1 (Orlets-1) being launched by the Soyuz-U2 launch vehicle, equipped with 8 film return capsules and having a design life of 60 days. Phase 2 (Orlets-2) would be launched by the much more powerful Zenit launch vehicle, be equipped with 22 return capsules, and had a 180 day design life. The draft project was completed in the late 1980's; Orlets-2 mass mock-ups were used on two Zenit test flights in 1986 and 1987. The manufacturer of the Zenit launch vehicle was in the Ukraine. After the break-up of the Soviet Union this was clearly an undesirable source for launch vehicles for strategically important spacecraft. Furthermore funds dried up. Consequently only a single Orlets-2 flew, as Cosmos 2290 in 1994.

Gross mass: 14,000 kg (30,000 lb).
First Launch: 1986.10.22.
Last Launch: 2000.09.25.
Number: 4 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Zenit Zenit was to be a modular new generation medium Soviet launch vehicle, replacing the various ICBM-derived launch vehicles in use since the 1960's (Tsiklon and Soyuz). A version of the first stage was used as strap-ons for the cancelled Energia heavy booster. But it was built by Yuzhnoye in the Ukraine; when the Soviet Union broke up planned large-scale production for the Soviet military was abandoned (Angara development was begun as an indigenous alternative). Launch pads were completed only at Baikonur; those at Plesetsk were never finished and are planned to be completed as Angara pads. However the vehicle found new life as a commercial launch vehicle, launched from a sea platform by an American/Ukrainian consortium. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Zenit-2 Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle. Two-stage version that continued to be used for launch of Russian military satellites tailored to it after the fall of the Soviet Union. More...
  • Zenit Zenit was to be a modular new generation medium Soviet launch vehicle, replacing the various ICBM-derived launch vehicles in use since the 1960's (Tsiklon and Soyuz). A version of the first stage was used as strap-ons for the cancelled Energia heavy booster. But it was built by Yuzhnoye in the Ukraine; when the Soviet Union broke up planned large-scale production for the Soviet military was abandoned (Angara development was begun as an indigenous alternative). Launch pads were completed only at Baikonur; those at Plesetsk were never finished and are planned to be completed as Angara pads. However the vehicle found new life as a commercial launch vehicle, launched from a sea platform by an American/Ukrainian consortium. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Kozlov Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Kozlov Central Specialized Design Bureau, Samara, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Orlets Sixth-generation reconnaisance satellite. After returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft is deorbited. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Sorokin, V, "Yantarnaya istoriya-2", Novosti kosmonavtiki, No. 11, 1999, p. 71..
  • NASA/GSFC Orbital Information Group Website, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Space-Launcher.com, Orbital Report News Agency. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Orlets-2 Chronology


1977 May - .
  • Council of Chief Designers reconsiders Yantar Soviet reconnsat designs - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Yantar-2K; Yantar-4K1; Yantar-4K2; Orlets-1; Orlets-2; Yantar-6K; Yantar-6KS; Yantar-4KS1. Flight trials of the Yantar-2K indicated the satellite was not capable of providing strategic warning of attack. The planned Yantar-6K series, in development since 1969, were overweight and behind schedule. A meeting of the Council of Chief Designers at TsSKB reviewed alternative approaches. It was decided that three variants of the Yantar-2K were to be developed, one of them the high resolution Yantar-4K.

1986 October 22 - . 08:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC45/1. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-2.
  • GVM - . Payload: Orlets-2 Mass Model. Nation: USSR. Agency: MO. Program: Orlets. Spacecraft: Orlets-2. Decay Date: 1988-04-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 17043 . COSPAR: 1986-080B. Apogee: 2,501 km (1,554 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 112.53 min. Summary: Mass model of Orlets-2 reconnaissance satellite..

1987 February 14 - . 08:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC45/1. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-2.
  • Cosmos 1820 - . Payload: Orlets-2 Mass Model. Mass: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MO. Program: Orlets. Spacecraft: Orlets-2. Decay Date: 1987-03-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 17523 . COSPAR: 1987-016A. Apogee: 250 km (150 mi). Perigee: 178 km (110 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. Summary: Launch vehicle test. Mass model of Orlets-2 reconnaissance satellite..

1994 August 26 - . 12:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC45/1. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-2.
  • Cosmos 2290 - . Payload: Orlets-2 no. 1. Mass: 13,000 kg (28,000 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MO. Program: Orlets. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Orlets-2. Decay Date: 1995-04-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 23218 . COSPAR: 1994-053A. Apogee: 392 km (243 mi). Perigee: 181 km (112 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 90.25 min. Summary: Only flight of Orlets-2 long-duration military reconnaissance satellite with 22 film-return capsules..

2000 September 25 - . 10:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC45/1. LV Family: Zenit. Launch Vehicle: Zenit-2.
  • Cosmos 2372 - . Mass: 12,000 kg (26,000 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MO. Manufacturer: Kozlov. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Orlets-2. Duration: 269.00 days. Decay Date: 2001-04-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 26538 . COSPAR: 2000-056A. Apogee: 343 km (213 mi). Perigee: 211 km (131 mi). Inclination: 64.7770 deg. Period: 89.97 min. Summary: Reported code name Yenisey. It is speculated that this is an improved version of the Orlets satellite launched as Cosmos 2290 in 1994. Re-entered on Apr 20, 2001 after a 7 month mission..

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