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Orlets-1
Part of Yantar Family
Yantar multi-return
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. Multi-purpose satellite, designed for both close-look and survey missions, equipped with a panoramic camera, equipped with 8 film return capsules.

AKA: 17F12; Don; Yantar FR6; Yantar-6K. Status: Operational 1989. First Launch: 1989-07-18. Last Launch: 2006-09-14. Number: 8 . Gross mass: 6,530 kg (14,390 lb).

The spacecraft was launched by the Soyuz-U2 launch vehicle, and had a design life of 60 days

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 new, 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; flight trials began in 1989 and system did not go into service until the 1990's. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, the satellite had to be switched to the less-capable Soyuz-U launch vehicle and the flight duration was extended to 100 to 120 days (presumably at the expense of fewer return capsules). As in the case of other Yantars, after returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft was deorbited. Typical orbital profile was an inclination 64.9 degrees with an altitude of 207-323 km. Only six were flown between the first flight Cosmos 2031 (1989) and the latest (Cosmos 2343, 1997).

Family: Military surveillance sat, Surveillance, Surveillance orbit. Country: Russia. Launch Vehicles: R-7, Soyuz-U, Soyuz-U2, Soyuz-U-PVB. Projects: Orlets. Launch Sites: Baikonur, Baikonur LC1, Baikonur LC31. Agency: MOM, Kozlov bureau. More at: 6759, 12926. Bibliography: 102, 106, 110, 2, 4, 451, 6.



1977 May - .
  • Council of Chief Designers reconsiders Yantar Soviet reconnsat designs - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Orlets-1, Orlets-2, Yantar-2K, Yantar-4K1, Yantar-4K2, Yantar-4KS1, Yantar-6K, Yantar-6KS.

    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.


1989 July 18 - . 12:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U-PVB.
  • Cosmos 2031 - . Payload: Orlets-1 no. 1. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Orlets. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. Spacecraft: Orlets-1. Duration: 44.00 days. Decay Date: 1989-09-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 20136 . COSPAR: 1989-056A. Apogee: 264 km (164 mi). Perigee: 211 km (131 mi). Inclination: 50.4000 deg. Period: 89.30 min. First launch of Orlets-1 long duration film return military reconnaissance satellite. After returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft was deorbited..

1990 October 1 - . 11:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
  • Cosmos 2101 - . Payload: Orlets-1 no. 2. Mass: 6,700 kg (14,700 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Orlets. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. Spacecraft: Orlets-1. Duration: 60.00 days. Decay Date: 1990-11-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 20828 . COSPAR: 1990-087A. Apogee: 304 km (188 mi). Perigee: 162 km (100 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 89.20 min. Long duration film return military reconnaissance satellite. After returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft was deorbited..

1991 October 9 - . 13:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
  • Cosmos 2163 - . Payload: Orlets-1 no. 3. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Orlets. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. Spacecraft: Orlets-1. Duration: 58.00 days. Decay Date: 1991-12-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 21741 . COSPAR: 1991-071A. Apogee: 308 km (191 mi). Perigee: 169 km (105 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 89.30 min. Long duration film return military reconnaissance satellite. After returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft was deorbited..

1992 December 22 - . 12:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U-PVB.
  • Cosmos 2225 - . Payload: Orlets-1 no. 4. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Orlets. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. Spacecraft: Orlets-1. Duration: 58.00 days. Decay Date: 1993-02-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 22280 . COSPAR: 1992-091A. Apogee: 313 km (194 mi). Perigee: 169 km (105 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 89.30 min. Long duration film return military reconnaissance satellite. After returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft was deorbited..

1993 September 7 - . 13:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
  • Cosmos 2262 - . Payload: Orlets-1 no. 5. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Orlets. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. Spacecraft: Orlets-1. Duration: 102.00 days. Decay Date: 1993-12-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 22789 . COSPAR: 1993-057A. Apogee: 261 km (162 mi). Perigee: 182 km (113 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 88.90 min. Long duration film return military reconnaissance satellite. After returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft was deorbited. First launch that demonstrated doubled operational life..

1997 May 15 - . 12:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U-PVB.
  • Cosmos 2343 - . Payload: Orlets-1 no. 6. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MO. Manufacturer: Kozlov bureau. Program: Orlets. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. Spacecraft: Orlets-1. Duration: 123.00 days. Decay Date: 1997-09-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 24805 . COSPAR: 1997-024A. Apogee: 343 km (213 mi). Perigee: 179 km (111 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 89.40 min.

    Long duration film return military reconnaissance satellite. After returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft was deorbited. This satellite provided Russia with the photo reconnaisance capability after a break of 7 1/2 months. This launch came on the 40th anniversary of the first successful launch of the R-7 rocket, from which the Soyuz-U was derived. It was the 250th launch of the Soyuz-U from Baikonur, the 350th launch from Launch Complex 31, and the 666th launch of a Soyuz-U.


2003 August 12 - . 14:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U-PVB.
  • Cosmos 2399 - . Mass: 6,750 kg (14,880 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. Spacecraft: Orlets-1. Decay Date: 2003-12-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 27856 . COSPAR: 2003-035A. Apogee: 289 km (179 mi). Perigee: 180 km (110 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 89.20 min.

    Originally to have launched September 2002; June 2003. A Russian newspaper report (Kommersant, 13 August) stated that Cosmos 2399 was a Neman (Yantar-4KS1M) imaging satellite, which used data relay satellites to return CCD imagery rather than physically recovering film. However some Western observors, when Cosmos 2399 raised its perigee on August 14 to 205 km and lowered the apogee to 330 km, believed this was more like the standard operational orbit for an Orlets-1 Don 17F12 film-return capsule imaging satellite. This seemed confirmed when debris was tracked around the satellite later on, which was then said to be due to a failed film capsule recovery attempt. Destroyed in orbit on December 9 after completing its mission.


2006 September 14 - . 13:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U-PVB.
  • Cosmos 2423 - . Mass: 6,750 kg (14,880 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: VKS. Manufacturer: Kozlov bureau. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. Spacecraft: Orlets-1. Duration: 64.00 days. Decay Date: 2006-11-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 29402 . COSPAR: 2006-039A. Apogee: 306 km (190 mi). Perigee: 208 km (129 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 89.70 min. Military surveillance; believed to be a derivative of the Orlets-1 multiple-capsule-return reconnaisance sattelite. Destroyed in orbit on November 17 at the end of its mission..


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