Saturday, March 31, 2018

Russia Launches Military Satellite into Space

Soyuz-2-1v rocket launch on March 29. Credit: Russian Defense Ministry.

Russia launched a light-class Soyuz-2-1v carrier rocket from the Plesetsk space center on Thursday to orbit a military satellite, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

According to the ministry, the satellite has successfully separated from the rocket and reached the designated orbit in a few hours.

It was the first launch of a Soyuz rocket from Plesetsk in 2018.

"A crew of the Space Troops of the Aerospace Force of the Russian Federation successfully launched the Soyuz-2-1v light launch vehicle at 20:38 Moscow Standard Time [17:38 UTC] that is carrying into space a satellite, which will serve the interests of the Defense Ministry," Russian Defense Ministry said.

Thursday’s launch saw a Soyuz-2-1v rocket place Kosmos 2525 into orbit for Russia’s military. Very little has been made public about this payload – even for a military satellite – other than unofficial reports that it was based around a new satellite bus developed by VNIIEM Corporation of Moscow.

The Eksperimentalny Maly Kosmichesky Apparat (EMKA) – or Experimental Small Spacecraft – is a platform developed by VNIIEM to support future miniature reconnaissance satellites.

Kosmos 2525 is reported to be carrying a remote sensing payload – likely an imager – as a demonstration and risk-reduction mission for the planned MKA-V series of imaging satellites. Writer Anatoly Zak has speculated that the satellite may be Zvezda, a demonstrator financed by VNIIEM and initiated in 2015 to pave the way for the MKA-V programme. If this is the case, then Kosmos 2525 likely has a mass of around 200 kilograms (440 lb) – similar to the proposed MKA-V.

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