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Orlets-2
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. Reconnaissance, photo (film return) satellite operated by GRU, Russia. Launched 1994 - 2000.

Status: Operational 1986. First Launch: 1986-10-22. Last Launch: 2000-09-25. Number: 4 . Gross mass: 14,000 kg (30,000 lb).

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.


More at: Orlets-2.

Family: Military surveillance sat, Surveillance, Surveillance orbit. Country: Russia. Engines: 17D62. Launch Vehicles: Zenit-2. Projects: Orlets. Launch Sites: Baikonur, Baikonur LC45/1. Agency: MO, Kozlov bureau. Bibliography: 2, 279, 451, 552, 554, 6, 12927.

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.


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. Mass: 14,000 kg (30,000 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MO. Program: Orlets. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. 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. 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: Russia. Agency: MO. Program: Orlets. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. 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. 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 Bus: Yantar. 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. 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 bureau. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Yantar. 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. 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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