Russian Military Satellite launched

by Chris Bergin

A Russian Soyuz-U rocket has launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome this evening, carrying the Kosmos-2420 satellite for Russian Ministry of Defence. The launch occurred at 6:48pm UK time, with the military satellite achieving orbit just nine minutes later.

Meanwhile, more details on the Russian Space Shuttle Kliper, set for its debut in 2015, have been revealed.
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‘The satellite was injected into orbit on behalf of the Defence Ministry, with stable communications and onboard systems function all normal,’ reported Russian news agency RIA/ Novosti.

Little is known of the satellite, which – it is understood – will be used for the monitoring of ballistic missile launches, electronic and photo-reconnaissance, and the tracking of military operations at sea.

It has been placed in Low Earth Orbit and will join other Russian military satellites, keeping their surveillance network up to date. However. the designation of a spy satellite may be more of an assumption than an official term.

Only today, Russian daily news outlet Kommersant, claimed Russia has lost its last official spy satellite, called the US-PU, after the Defence Ministry ended communications with the spacecraft.

‘In the recent years, Russia has been losing its standing when it comes to maintaining a proper level of the orbit group,’ Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov was quoted as saying back in 2002, while noting efforts would be re-started – quiet possibly with today’s launch of the Kosmos-2420.

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Meanwhile, another Russian media outlet, Itar-Tass, reports that 20 space industry companies will play a role in the manufacturing new Russian Shuttle, the Kliper.

‘The space rocket corporation Energia will be a head enterprise of the project Kliper, and the Khrunichev Space Centre, science and production association Molniya and about twenty enterprises will participate in its manufacture,’ Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) chief Anatoly Perminov told reporters today.

Among the 20 companies, the Russian head noted that he believes the project should be open to international competition, driving down the cost of the new generation ship, while spreading the total cost of bringing the craft on line.

Perminov also noted that each Kliper will have a life span of 25 flights, will have the capacity to ferry six crew members, and will be capable of delivering 700 kilogrammes of payload to a space station and transport 500 kilogrammes back to Earth.

Interestingly, while the Kliper will land like the NASA Space Shuttle, in cases of emergency, the craft will have the ability to retract its wings, deploy parachutes and land like a Soyuz.


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