Re: New Russian spysat on Sept 25th?

From: Phillip Clark (
Date: Sat Sep 16 2000 - 09:34:42 PDT

  • Next message: Alan Pickup: "Decay watch: 2000 Sep 16"

    On Sat, 16 Sep 2000, Allen Thomson wrote:
    > There is a report that the Zenit-2 launch now scheduled for 25 September
    > will be carrying a new kind of reconnaissance satellite:
    > Perhaps Phillip Clark could comment on the report;  and the ILAM, if
    > available, would be useful to have.
    When I saw the report earlier this week my mind immediately went back to
    Cosmos 2290, launched in 1994: this is currently the only
    photoreconnaissance satellite to have been launched aboard the Zenit-2
    vehicle and is apparentluy an Orlets-2 photoreconnaissance satellite.
    The reports regarding the up-and-coming mission are somewhat confused,
    since a western writer Anatoly Zak (apoligies if my spelling is "off" here
    !) says that the Ukrainian story is echoing back a piece which he put
    together for a US-based internet publisher, so right now it's unclear what
    is Russian/Ukrainian data and which is western data being echoed
    back.   (I always thought glasnost was a Bad Move !)
    The new launch is apparently a follow-on to Cosmos 2290 which had around
    two dozen data-return capsules.   We know nothing regarding the
    configuration of the vehicle: I have previously speculated that it might
    be related to the long-proposed series of NIKA satellites, intended to
    replace the Vostok-based Resurs-F, Foton and Bion satellites, but the
    oft-quoted orbital regime and lifetime for NIKA did not square with Cosmos
    2290.   Then again, C2290 could be a military version of NIKA, just as we
    have the reverse Foton, Resurs-F and Bion being civil versions of the
    Zenit-2 satellite.
    And yes, I have long held the theory that the former-Soviet space industry
    was only allowed a limited number of names to use, which explains why the
    same name turns up with so many programmes !   As an example, we have
    Raduga which is (1) a launch complex at Plesetsk, (2) a proposed new
    launch vehicle, (3) the code-name for the 1976 Soyuz 22 mission, (4) a
    series of geosynchronous-orbit comsats, (5) the re-entry capsule flown on
    some Progress-M missions and (6) an aerospace design bureau.   There may
    be more Raduga applications within the space programme .......
    Phillip Clark
    Phillip S Clark                                     22 Winterbourne Close
    Molniya Space Consultancy                           Hastings
    Compiler/Publisher, Worldwide Satellite Launches    E Sussex  TN34 1XG
    Specialist in "space archeology" - the older and more obscure the more 
    interesting it is !
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