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    Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

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    Mike E

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Mike E on Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:24 pm

    Big_Gazza wrote:
    Mike E wrote:In any case, the differences between Olymp and Luch are obvious. Civilian Luch satellites were light enough to share a ride on Proton with another payload, while the spacecraft formerly known as Olymp is launched alone, betraying a much larger size!

    This isn't quite correct.  The original Luch satellites (aka Altair) and the 2nd gen Luch-2 used dedicated Proton launches, but the subsequent Luch-5x series were only half the mass and could therefore share a ride.

    Re this upcoming launch, is this not the same satellite that was originally called Luch-4 and would have had a mass of 3 ton and therefore need to revert to dedicated proton launches? IIRC Luch-4 was cancelled but reconfigured as a testbed for new technologies.  

    Anatoly Zak is fully aware of this past history, yet he deliberately launches into conjecture about military involvement, but it seems reasonable to expect that a new experimental data relay satellite would be kept under tight wraps with little to no public scrutiny?
    In all honesty, I don't know what to think about this... Zak is claiming that it is actually an electronic commutation satellite used for spying etc. "Luch" is a name just to confuse reporters, and so far it has done very well!

    "But it seems reasonable to expect that a new experimental data relay satellite would be kept under tight wraps with little to no public scrutiny?" - Are you suggesting that this could just be secretive public satellite?
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    Mike E

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Mike E on Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:50 am

    Proton-M carrier rocket lifts off from Baikonur

    MOSCOW, September 28 /ITAR-TASS/. The Proton-M carrier rocket, which lifted off from Baikonur space launch facility early on Sunday, has put the Briz-M rocket booster and the Russian relay satellite Luch in the interim orbit, the press service of the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos) reported.
    First launch of Proton booster after accident due on September 28
    “The Russian satellite is expected to enter the final calculated orbit at 09:26 Moscow time (on Sunday),” the press service said.
    The Luch spacecraft is another satellite of the Luch Multifunctional Relay System which is being developed under the 2006-2015 Russian federal space programme. The Luch relay system is intended to provide the Russian segment of the International Space Station /ISS)/; low-orbiting space devices; boosters and upper stages with communication with ground-based facilities. The previous Luch spacecraft - Luch-5B - was successfully put in orbit on April 28 this year.

    - The spacecraft launched wasn't a "Luch" and is suspected to be military.
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    Big_Gazza

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Big_Gazza on Sun Sep 28, 2014 3:29 pm

    Mike E wrote:"But it seems reasonable to expect that a new experimental data relay satellite would be kept under tight wraps with little to no public scrutiny?" - Are you suggesting that this could just be secretive public satellite?

    I'm simply suggesting that a new large-mass data relay geosat using new technolgies would be a sensitive mission, regardless of who the ultimate user would be, especially if the hardware is mostly of domestic Russian manufacture rather than reliant on western components as the Luch 5x series were. Such a commsat would be a very significant mission for Russian national security, even if it were in fact destined for civilian service.

    I'm also wondering if much of Russia's "bad luck" with launching federal payloads may not be accidental, and that security has been beefed up in preperation for an important national mission. It onvious taht there is a significant 5th column working inside Russia, and I don't discount the fact that there could well be saboteur cell(s) working within Russian aerospace industries. Pay scales are still quite low, and its an unfortunate human trait that people can be tempted to betray their colleagues, friends and nation in order to have their palms laced with dirty silver...
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    Mike E

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Mike E on Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:31 pm

    Big_Gazza wrote:
    Mike E wrote:"But it seems reasonable to expect that a new experimental data relay satellite would be kept under tight wraps with little to no public scrutiny?" - Are you suggesting that this could just be secretive public satellite?

    I'm simply suggesting that a new large-mass data relay geosat using new technolgies would be a sensitive mission, regardless of who the ultimate user would be, especially if the hardware is mostly of domestic Russian manufacture rather than reliant on western components as the Luch 5x series were.  Such a commsat would be a very significant mission for Russian national security, even if it were in fact destined for civilian service.

    I'm also wondering if much of Russia's "bad luck" with launching federal payloads may not be accidental, and that security has been beefed up in preperation for an important national mission.  It onvious taht there is a significant 5th column working inside Russia, and I don't discount the fact that there could well be saboteur cell(s) working within Russian aerospace industries.  Pay scales are still quite low, and its an unfortunate human trait that people can be tempted to betray their colleagues, friends and nation in order to have their palms laced with dirty silver...
    Got it.... So far I haven't heard if this will replace or only complement the Luch series, but hopefully we will find out sooner rather than later.

    By the standards of other countries, Russia rocket industry is extremely reliable when it comes to launches. Sabotage in something as monitored as a rocket would be found before, if not after the failure. Most of the time the problem is something very simple, like a bug in the hardware that controls the engine flow rate etc.
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    Big_Gazza

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    Military satellites

    Post  Big_Gazza on Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:44 am

    Mike E wrote:
    Big_Gazza wrote:
    Mike E wrote:"But it seems reasonable to expect that a new experimental data relay satellite would be kept under tight wraps with little to no public scrutiny?" - Are you suggesting that this could just be secretive public satellite?

    I'm simply suggesting that a new large-mass data relay geosat using new technolgies would be a sensitive mission, regardless of who the ultimate user would be, especially if the hardware is mostly of domestic Russian manufacture rather than reliant on western components as the Luch 5x series were.  Such a commsat would be a very significant mission for Russian national security, even if it were in fact destined for civilian service.

    I'm also wondering if much of Russia's "bad luck" with launching federal payloads may not be accidental, and that security has been beefed up in preperation for an important national mission.  It onvious taht there is a significant 5th column working inside Russia, and I don't discount the fact that there could well be saboteur cell(s) working within Russian aerospace industries.  Pay scales are still quite low, and its an unfortunate human trait that people can be tempted to betray their colleagues, friends and nation in order to have their palms laced with dirty silver...
    Got it.... So far I haven't heard if this will replace or only complement the Luch series, but hopefully we will find out sooner rather than later.

    By the standards of other countries, Russia rocket industry is extremely reliable when it comes to launches. Sabotage in something as monitored as a rocket would be found before, if not after the failure. Most of the time the problem is something very simple, like a bug in the hardware that controls the engine flow rate etc.

    I wish I could be as confident... There have been a number of failed proton launches that were put down to hardware failures for which a suspicious person could easily come up with sinister causes:

    Proton fail 05-12-2010 (Glonass x3) - vehicle was lost due to excessive fuel loaded to upper stage, which resulted in too much weight and an inability to reach orbit. What was the history behind this fault fuel load calculation? Could the launch-pad technicians have been given a deliberately incorrect fuel load instruction?

    Proton fail 17-08-2011 (Express AM4) - Briz-M upper stage software bug. Deliberate hack?

    Proton fail 06-06-2012 (Telkom-3/Express MD2) - Briz-M upper stage shut down 4 minutes earlier than planned on its fourth burn. Apparently caused by a piping failure.

    Proton partial-fail 08-12-2012 (Yamal-402) - Briz-M upper stage shut down 4 minutes earlier than planned on its fourth burn. Apparently caused by excessive temperature of the propellant line due to excessive engine start frequency and solar heating. (Sounds like a bona fide design issue).

    Proton fail 02-07-2013 (Glonass x3) - vehicle lost control immediately on launch. Fault was traced to yaw sensors installed upside down. Human error blamed during rocket assembly, but how can we be sure that these were not tampered with while the launcher was in storage?

    Proton fail 15-5-2014 (Express AM4R) - Proton third stage vernier (steering) engine failure at T+542 seconds due to turbo-pump pipe leak (or bearing failure?).

    Many of these failures seem to due to sloppy manufacturing, testing and QA procedures. Its interesting to note that the Bulava SLBM is experiencing similar problems, ie multiple failures unrelated to design issues but due to supply chain issues. The causes of these failures should be correctable, but in the meantime, the failure rate of 1 per year over the last half decade is causing damage to proton commercial success which was once very impressive. I REALLY hate to see Elon "SpaceX is exceptional" Musk profiting from Protons current rut....
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    coolieno99

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  coolieno99 on Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:36 am

    Mike E wrote:Proton-M carrier rocket lifts off from Baikonur

    MOSCOW, September 28 /ITAR-TASS/. The Proton-M carrier rocket, which lifted off from Baikonur space launch facility early on Sunday, has put the Briz-M rocket booster and the Russian relay satellite Luch in the interim orbit, the press service of the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos) reported.
    First launch of Proton booster after accident due on September 28
    “The Russian satellite is expected to enter the final calculated orbit at 09:26 Moscow time (on Sunday),” the press service said.
    The Luch spacecraft is another satellite of the Luch Multifunctional Relay System which is being developed under the 2006-2015 Russian federal space programme. The Luch relay system is intended to provide the Russian segment of the International Space Station /ISS)/; low-orbiting space devices; boosters and upper stages with communication with ground-based facilities. The previous Luch spacecraft - Luch-5B - was successfully put in orbit on April 28 this year.

    - The spacecraft launched wasn't a "Luch" and is suspected to be military.

    It could be.


    "The focus of this text is on the successful launch of the Proton, however the most important this mission is the payload. The Olimp satellite is an improved version of the Luch series, and there are two important milestones in this mission. The completion of the Russian Satellite Data Relay Network with worldwide coverage and the possible test of some key technologies in aiming at future ELINT missions from geostationary orbit. ELINT in GEO is something new for Russia which has always used LEO missions series Tselina"

    João Dallamuta · FAE Business School

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Russia_launches_Proton_M_rocket_after_accident_999.html
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    Mike E

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Mike E on Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:05 am

    coolieno99 wrote:
    Mike E wrote:Proton-M carrier rocket lifts off from Baikonur

    MOSCOW, September 28 /ITAR-TASS/. The Proton-M carrier rocket, which lifted off from Baikonur space launch facility early on Sunday, has put the Briz-M rocket booster and the Russian relay satellite Luch in the interim orbit, the press service of the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos) reported.
    First launch of Proton booster after accident due on September 28
    “The Russian satellite is expected to enter the final calculated orbit at 09:26 Moscow time (on Sunday),” the press service said.
    The Luch spacecraft is another satellite of the Luch Multifunctional Relay System which is being developed under the 2006-2015 Russian federal space programme. The Luch relay system is intended to provide the Russian segment of the International Space Station /ISS)/; low-orbiting space devices; boosters and upper stages with communication with ground-based facilities. The previous Luch spacecraft - Luch-5B - was successfully put in orbit on April 28 this year.

    - The spacecraft launched wasn't a "Luch" and is suspected to be military.

    It could be.


    "The focus of this text is on the successful launch of the Proton, however the most important this mission is the payload. The Olimp satellite is an improved version of the Luch series, and there are two important milestones in this mission. The completion of the Russian Satellite Data Relay Network with worldwide coverage and the possible test of some key technologies in aiming at future ELINT missions from geostationary orbit. ELINT in GEO is something new for Russia which has always used LEO missions series Tselina"

    João Dallamuta · FAE Business School

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Russia_launches_Proton_M_rocket_after_accident_999.html
    Thanks for the added info... There seems to be an information war over the payload, some say its an upgrade, others say it is completely new...

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    Russian Military Satellite

    Post  Austin on Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:55 pm

    Russia to have 9 new military satellites by 2020

    http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/755238

    The data transfer speed will grow to 8 megabits per second, and up to 100 Mbit/s on some directions




    MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. The throughput capacity of Russia’s military satellite communications system will quadruple by 2020 due to the replenishment of the orbital group with nine spacecraft, Deputy Chief of the General Staff Maj.-Gen. Khalil Arslanov said.

    “The orbital group of military-purpose communications satellites will be replenished with nine modern spacecraft by 2020,” Arslanov, who is also head of the Russian armed forces’ Main Communications Department, said.

    Arslanov said the data transfer speed will grow to 8 megabits per second, and up to 100 Mbit/s on some directions.

    On Monday, Russia’s Signal Troops mark their 95th anniversary.
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    Viktor

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Viktor on Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:03 pm

    After US space shutle orbiting for years around the globe it was on the Russians to prove that they could kill it Laughing Laughing Laughing

    Kosmos-2499: Is it a spy or an assassin... or both?
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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  George1 on Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:07 pm

    Russia to Launch Two Military Satellites This Month

    In early February, a new light-class Soyuz-2.1v rocket will take a new-generation military spacecraft into space. Another launch is slated for the end of the month.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Two military satellites are scheduled to be launched this month from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia, a space industry source told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

    “The first launch of 2015 has been tentatively scheduled for early February,” the source said. “A new light-class Soyuz-2.1v rocket with the Volga booster, designed by the Progress space design bureau, will for the first time take a new-generation military spacecraft to orbit.”

    During the second launch, slated for late February, a medium Soyuz-2.1a rocket will orbit another military satellite, the source said.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20150203/1017700227.html#ixzz3Qg9s9SRn
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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Viktor on Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:31 pm

    Most likely first of the new generation EW satelites Shoigu announced at the end of 2014 to be launched in the Q1 of 2015.
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    Rmf

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Rmf on Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:20 am

    russia does have launchers ready, but satelite production is suffering due to western sanctions.
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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Rmf on Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:16 am

    military payload , bars-m , no film return capsules for russia anymore, all 10 launches planned from plesetsk in 2015 are military.
    http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/roscosmos/first-bars-m-spy-satellite-russian-military-heads-sky/
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    George1

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  George1 on Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:47 pm

    At 6:01 a.m. EST (14:01 MSK, 1101 GMT) Friday, a Soyuz-2-1a rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the town of Mirny, north of Moscow, Russia, carrying the first Bars-M spy satellite for the Russian military. As is typical for classified Russian military missions, the launch was not broadcast.

    Limited information has been made available, but the payload has not been kept a complete secret. Bars-M is a cartography satellite, designed to map the Earth from above to keep Russian military maps as up-to-date as possible. This particular series of mapping satellites will use digital imaging and, evidently, downlink the footage instead of using the old film-return technique to bring the maps back. Older cartography satellites relied on the ability to parachute spent film back to Earth for review and use.

    Bars-M began its life in the 1990s as simply “Bars” and was created to be a replacement for the Kometa (Yantar-1KFT) satellites. The Kometa spacecraft were film-return satellites that the USSR developed in the 1970s and used, through the transition from USSR to Russia, from the 1980s to 2005. Each Kometa carried a TK-350 topographic camera TK-350 and a KVR-1000 high resolution camera in order to create large topographic maps. They used a Yantar bus module, which has been around since the 1960s and which was used recently on the Lotos-S satellite, and a Zenit-based film return capsule that could be re-used a few times.

    Each Kometa could orbit for about 45 days before returning the film capsule, which meant the Soviet Union needed to launch them somewhat regularly in order to maintain accurate maps. According to a report from SEN, “The USSR tried to launch at least one orbital cartographer per year, however during the post-Soviet economic collapse of the 1990s, such missions became more and more infrequent.”
    Soyuz 2-1A prior to launch as seen on Spaceflight Insider

    Soyuz 2-1A prior to launch. Photo Credit: Russian Space Web

    Accurate maps are no minor concern for soldiers in a combat zone. According to SEN, “Russian military maps were quickly growing obsolete. According to veterans of wars in Chechnya, inaccurate maps further complicated a nightmare scenario of urban warfare in this breakaway Russian republic.”

    Thus the Bars project was born. It would be built on the Yantar bus as well, and would employ “topographic electro-optical imaging system consisting of a wide-angle and high-resolution camera and a set of laser altimeters,” according to Spaceflight101. However, in the early 2000s, the project halted due to issues with both funds and technical details. The delay “led to a decade-long gap in operational space-based cartography capabilities,” according to the same report.

    The contract for the Bars-M satellites, the upgrade and reboot of the unfinished Bars, was signed in 2007 and included an expected first launch by 2012. TsSKB Progress, or Progress State Research and Production Space Centre, was contracted to develop a satellite bus different from the familiar Yantar. TsSKB-Progress operates under the jurisdiction of Roscosmos and is based in Samara, Russia. Leningrad Optical Mechanical Association (LOMO) developed and built the imaging system payload. Yet technical difficulties prevented it from being completed when desired, pushing that first launch to today, about three years late.

    So far, the Russian military has ordered at least six satellites in this line. Each has a life expectancy of five years.

    http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/roscosmos/first-bars-m-spy-satellite-russian-military-heads-sky/
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    Viktor

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    4 new satellites in orbit ..... Nice

    Post  Viktor on Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:27 pm

    4 new satellites in orbit ..... Nice  thumbsup


    2015 March 31: A Rockot booster launched three Gonets-M satellites comprising Block No. 14 of the Gonets-D1M network and a classified military payload. According to the official media, the Rockot/Briz-KM lifted off on March 31, 2015, at 16:48 Moscow Time. The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the on-time launch and the presence of the fourth military payload onboard the launch vehicle. The payload section separated from the second stage of the launch vehicle at 16:53 and the spacecraft were expected to reach its orbit at 18:45 Moscow Time.

    The mission was previously planned for March 3, 2015, however, around one day before a scheduled liftoff, the rocket had to be removed from the launch pad and returned to the assembly building for additional checks of engines on the first or second stage of the booster. The inspections were apparently triggered by recent ICBM tests.

    LINK
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    Russia To Build Submarine-Detecting Satellite

    Post  max steel on Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:42 pm

    Russia To Build Submarine-Detecting Satellite dunno

    Russia could build a satellite for the detection and tracking of submarines from space, a defense industry spokesman said on Thursday.

    Vladimir Boldyrev, of the Kosmonit science and technology center, said the group had developed a space satellite module that could carry out remote sensing of the sea and "detect submerged submarines."

    "Hopefully, it will be tested in space as early as 2011," he said, adding that work on the module started over a decade ago.

    He offered no indication as to when the new satellite would enter service with the Russian Armed Forces.

    Boldyrev added that the dual-use module would be used for both defense and civilian purposes, in particular, providing meteorological data.


    2010 ARTICLE : http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Russia_To_Build_Submarine_Detecting_Satellite_999.html
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    Viktor

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    Russian Military Satellites

    Post  Viktor on Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:13 pm

    Nice thumbsup

    Russia Launches Soyuz Carrier Rocket With Military Satellite

    Vann7

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Vann7 on Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:42 am



    I really hope that Mr Putin and all the Russians for once in their life ,
    realize that the west will never accept them as equals ,they Americans don't
    accept strong competition .

    It was a mistake to depend on western technology for their satellites , and any other technology.
    Russia needs to develop 100% of their technology for space and military at home at very least.
    But also its COmputers needs to be made in Russia too.. and internet too.. Because the west
    will never lift sanctions ..
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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Viktor on Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:18 pm

    Persona-3 optical reconisanse satellite  thumbsup

    Russia Launches Soyuz Carrier Rocket With Military Satellite

    Defence satellite launched from Plesetsk put into designated orbit
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    George1

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  George1 on Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:36 am

    Does anyone has any knowledge in Kondor military satellite?


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    max steel

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  max steel on Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:59 pm

    Cosmos-2506 - new Persona reconnaissance satellite



    On June 23, 2015 at 19:44 MSK (16:44 UTC) Space and Air Defense Forces successfully launched a Soyuz-2.1b launcher from the launch pad No. 4 of the launch complex No. 43 of the Plesetsk test site. The satellite delivered into orbit was designated Cosmos-2506. It is believed to be a new Persona optical reconnaissance satellite.




    The satellite was registered by NORAD as an object 40699 and was given international designation 2015-029A. It is expected to perform a transfer to a sun-synchronous circular orbit with apogee of about 720 km in a few days. Previous launch of a Persona satellite, Cosmos-2486, took place on June 7, 2013.
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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  George1 on Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:08 am

    Military Satellite Communications System "Raduga-1M" was put into operation


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    Military satellites

    Post  max steel on Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:37 pm

    Satellite wars Awesome Article


    An unlikely memorial runs across the middle of the marketplace in Kettering — an otherwise unremarkable English market town. This slab of granite, set into the paving as part of a timeline of local history, reads “Russian Satellites: Grammar School Beats Nasa”. Etched into the stone is the distinctive outline of a sputnik orbiter.

    Kettering Grammar School — like the space race — is long gone. But for a period it was on the front line of the extraterrestrial battle between Washington and Moscow. The Kettering Group — the school’s enthusiastic science masters and their eager pupils — became the world’s foremost amateur satellite sleuths, tracking secret Soviet launches and uncovering the location of a previously secret Russian cosmodrome from the workaday shire town.

    As the cold war passed into history, so did the group. Geoff Perry, the main teacher and leader, died in 2000. But some of his former pupils never lost their enthusiasm for tracking the orbits of satellites in the skies above us. In 2014, an email from one of them hit my inbox. Did I know much about satellites, it asked? Perhaps I should look into this curious new object?

    “In May 2014 there was a regular Russian rocket launch that put four satellites up into orbit,” recalls Bob Christy, a former Kettering pupil. “But one of them wasn’t the same as the others.” Three — as had been publicly declared — were Rodnik communications satellites. The fourth, though, was something quite else. Officially it was classified on the Pentagon’s public space database as orbital junk. But then it began to manoeuvre. “It moved away from the others,” says Christy. “And then we watched it put itself on a trajectory to catch up again with the rocket booster that launched it. It was some kind of test.”

    What exactly Norad 39765 — known also as Kosmos 2499 and Object 2014-28e — is has still not been publicly declared. The Russians do not even acknowledge its existence. But the activities of the mystery “ghost” satellite have given many in the defence and intelligence community pause for thought. “In the last year, the Russians, China and the US have all been testing these kinds of things,” says Christy. “People talk about them being inspectors, but if you have the ability to manoeuvre up to another satellite in space to inspect it, you also have the ability to destroy it.”

    Indeed, as far as several seasoned analysts, intelligence officials and diplomats spoken to by the Financial Times are concerned, 39765 best makes sense in the context of one of Russia’s most secretive cold war ventures — a programme that is now being revived: Istrebitel Sputnikov. The satellite killer.

    Space, military officials like to say, is the ultimate higher ground. Since the cold war ended, however, it has been a largely uncontested territory. In January 1967, the US, UK and USSR became the first signatories to the Outer Space Treaty. In it, they committed to keeping the moon free of military testing and not putting weapons of mass destruction into orbit. China joined the pact in 1984. Another 100 states are now signed up.

    As a result, for three decades, space powers have been able to operate their own satellites with impunity. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there are at least 1,300 satellites now orbiting the Earth. Some have military purposes. Some are for civilian and commercial use. Most — 549 — are American. European powers are big players too. Russia has 131, the UK 40. But growing numbers are from rising countries. China now has 142 in orbit, India 33.

    With all this activity, the pax caelestis is unlikely to hold for much longer. Sixty years after the space race began, an orbital arms race is again in development.

    Military officials from the US, Europe and Asia spoken to by the Financial Times confirm in private what the Kettering Group and other amateur stargazers have been watching publicly. Almost every country with strategically important satellite constellations and its own launch facilities is considering how to defend — and weaponise — their extraterrestrial assets. “I don’t think there is a single G7 nation that isn’t now looking at space security as one of its highest military priorities and areas of strategic concern,” says one senior European intelligence official.

    “The threat is increasing and this is a major concern,” says Frank Rose, US assistant secretary of state for arms control. “Both Russia and China are developing ASAT [anti-satellite weapon] capabilities to hold US systems at risk. Now, we don’t believe it’s in anyone’s interest to engage in a space arms race . . . We don’t want conflict in outer space. But be assured, we will be able to operate in a degraded space environment. We’ve made it clear that we will do what is necessary to protect the space assets of the US and our allies against potential attack.”

    Satellites are fragile things: a nudge to their orbit, a tilt of their solar panels towards the sun, a laser blast directed at their sensors or a projectile casually fired into their path are all capable of wreaking permanent, irreversible damage. “We have plenty of vulnerabilities we need to work on and space is one of the most important,” says General Denis Mercier, Nato’s supreme commander, who is charged with adapting the alliance to deal with future threats. “It’s a domain that is going to be as important in modern warfare as any other. We have a responsibility and a necessity to work on it.”

    Space, says Mercier, needs to be considered in the same breath as sea and air when it comes to defence. While developed societies are becoming more dependent on it than ever before for almost every aspect of their digital economies, their grip on the technologies that have given them global strategic dominance is slipping. And as more countries around the world look to maximise their military advantages, space is becoming the most obvious domain to contest.

    “This is going to explode in the very near future . . . you already have 60-plus nations who are interested in space capabilities,” says Elizabeth Quintana, senior research fellow at the military think-tank Rusi. “And with that, there are a number that are developing very serious anti-space capabilities, most notably China and Russia. When you think that western militaries and societies are critically dependent on space, it is an area to be seriously concerned about.”

    Everything that gives modern western forces their technological and tactical edge over rivals, notes Quintana, stems from space-based systems. These include precision weaponry, drone surveillance and sophisticated real-time battlefield communications. “Even our tanks,” one British military officer says, “depend on our satellites.”

    The Reaper drones that destroyed al-Qaeda’s leadership would have been useless without satellites; the intelligence on Russian troop movements around Ukraine came from them; and the smart bombs that reduced Saddam Hussein’s military to rubble in 48 hours wouldn’t have hit their targets if they hadn’t been there. Even Barack Obama’s phone calls rely on a specific array of them — the Advanced Extremely High Frequency constellation.
    But it is not just a military issue. “Space, cyber, hybrid warfare . . . they raise questions of our resilience,” says Mercier. And resilience, he adds, is something that societies, not just armies, need to address.

    Western intelligence officials can reel off their concerns over what the loss of satellite communications could mean. There are all the things we currently depend on — from the navigation of aeroplanes to our ability to make phone calls. And then there are the things we are becoming ever more dependent on — driverless cars or internet-linked domestic appliances.

    “In the US, for the military — particularly the air force and Darpa [Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency] — the National Security Agency and the state department, this is now a key area of concern,” says Anthony Cordesman, former Pentagon intelligence chief and now chair of strategy at the think-tank CSIS in Washington. “But the challenge in space is going to affect virtually every aspect of the country’s strategy . . . the absolutely critical point is that in a world where geoeconomics are as important as geopolitics and strategy, we need to worry about the spectrum of vulnerability. It is not just military assets that [weaponising] space is a problem for, but our entire societies.”

    Almost every cutting-edge technology being adopted in highly developed economies increases their dependency on undefended satellites. According to one senior British government official, the UK’s intelligence assessment is that 67 per cent of the country’s economy is dependent in some way on space-based communications. A report produced for the US Department of Homeland Security in June estimated that at least $1.6tn of business revenues in America were “heavily influenced” by satellites.

    “Space,” says assistant secretary Rose, “is vital to just about everything we do here on Earth.”

    The original satellite killer programme was the brainchild of Vladimir Chelomey, the Soviet Union’s chief designer of aviation equipment. In 1960, the Soviets shot down an American spy plane, prompting Washington to reconsider its intelligence-gathering strategy. As the US turned to space, Moscow needed a means to stop it conducting its surveillance unimpeded.


    By 1967, Russia’s programme was on a firm footing. A special directorate was formed within the general staff with responsibility for “space defence”. Russia performed its first fully functional anti-satellite weapon or ASAT test that year, launching a manoeuvrable payload into orbit where they used it to trial an attack. The principle was simple enough: a nimble, light kill-vehicle, capable of firing a heavy, non-explosive projectile at a designated object in space, and destroying it.

    Over the next decade, 15 more ASAT payloads would be launched by the USSR. By the 1970s, the Russians were ramping up their testing further. They even sent special armoured satellites, loaded with sensors to measure shrapnel damage, into space to act as targets for their anti-satellite weapons.
    For its part, the US spent the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s primarily focusing on ballistic missile technology. Systems were developed that were primarily designed to hit other rockets — but some had the capability to reach into space as well. In 1959, a Bold Orion missile was launched from a B-47 Stratojet but only made it within four miles of its satellite target.

    For the next decade, the US experimented with using nuclear weapons to wipe out enemy satellite arrays but the programme never captured the imagination of the Pentagon’s military strategists. It wasn’t until the 1980s, when CIA intelligence unveiled the extent of Russia’s ASAT operations, that the US took the threat seriously. A programme rapidly developed a new generation of air-launched rockets that could strike targets in outer space. In 1985, the ASM-135 rocket was launched successfully for the first time from an F-15 jet to blow up Solwind P78-1. Three years later, the entire US ASAT programme was mothballed.

    As both Washington and Moscow became keen to curb the excesses of their prohibitive arms race, Russia’s ASAT programme had also begun to wither. Major General Anatoly Zavalishin, the head of Baikonur cosmodrome, recalled the death-knell for the ASAT programme in his 1999 memoir. He told Mikhail Gorbachev he could conduct all his tests in secret, without the Americans discovering their activities. The Soviet premier, the general recalled, gave a polite and “resolute” refusal.

    It would not be until 20 years later that satellite killing came back on the agenda — put there by a whole new power.On January 11 2007, 865km above the Chinese mainland, a weather satellite was blown to smithereens by an object blasted into space from Base-27, the Xichang spaceport. Debris was sent hurtling around the atmosphere. More than 2,300 pieces of golf ball size or larger — each lethal to anything it hit — were released into orbit, according to Nasa. At least a third will circle the Earth until 2035. “Have you seen the film Gravity?” asks Quintana, referring to the hurtling mass of spoilage from an accidental collision that spells the undoing of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. “It’s literally like that.”
    Frank Rose, US assistant secretary of state for arms control

    Some scientists have even posited the possibility of a lethal shrapnel chain reaction as a result of future ASAT detonations. The detritus from one explosion could spread out to hit other satellites, which in turn would fragment, and so on. Eventually much — if not all — of the world’s critical satellite constellations would be inadvertently wiped out.

    The Chinese insisted the project — known as SC-19 — was benign. “China will not participate in any kind of arms race in outer space,” foreign ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao told Reuters. But the effect on both Washington and Moscow was nevertheless electric.

    In the US, the National Security Council castigated China almost immediately. In private, the Pentagon put its own ASAT capabilities back on the high-priority list and on February 20 2008, it authorised Operation Burnt Frost. The USS Lake Erie launched a missile at USA-193, a national reconnaissance office satellite. The test was a success. The satellite, Washington said, was defunct, and posed a risk of crashing to Earth. Informed observers noted, though, that USA-193 would probably have disintegrated on re-entry anyway. The cost of launching a ballistic missile to intercept it instead was $100m.

    Meanwhile, amid a broader plan to modernise the country’s decaying military, Russian media began referring to the country’s “latent” ASAT systems in 2009. In 2010, the plan to revive them was articulated. Oleg Ostapenko, the commander of Russia’s space forces, told Itar-Tass, the news agency, that the military was developing a new generation of “inspection and strike” weapons. “Our policy is that there should be no war in space,” he said. “But we are military people and we should be ready for everything.”

    China has gone on to push further and further with its efforts. In 2008, a highly manoeuvrable nano-satellite, the BX-1 — a 40cm cube — was positioned dangerously close to the International Space Station. Officially the BX-1 is for inspection and observation. But it also has potential as a weapon. Had it been directed to do so, it could have destroyed the space station and killed the astronauts on board.

    Then in 2013, China launched the Dong Neng — another ASAT interceptor. It currently has three ASAT-capable vehicles positioned in space.
    Firing rockets into the outer atmosphere is not the only way to destroy things in space. “ASAT until recently has been entirely kinetic, but what we’re seeing a lot more of now is a cyber component to the approach,” says Patricia Lewis, research director at the international security department of Chatham House. “If you can hack into a satellite’s control systems there are plenty of things you can do — turn the solar panels so they fry up in the sun, move the satellite into a destructive orbit, turn it into a weapon to smash other satellites with, or perhaps most insidious of all, you could just insert changes into the data it was transmitting back to Earth, so the operators would act on it and perhaps you could cause even more damage back on Earth that way.”

    Launching a cyber attack on satellites has three key benefits. Most obviously, attacks do not have to result in an uncontrollable debris cloud in outer space. But perhaps more significantly, cyber is also far cheaper for would-be assailants and, if done well, it can be almost anonymous. This opens up a worrisome prospect for strategic planners — attacks that disrupt or spy on their countries’ infrastructure without the ability to respond and therefore without the prospect of deterrence.

    Last September, hackers broke into the data system of the US federal weather satellite network, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Information from the satellites is used in everything from daily weather reports to environmental emergency planning and ballistic missile flight navigation calculations.

    The control systems were protected, officials said, and no critical data were affected, but just two months before, US government inspectors warned in an official report that an NOAA satellite system breach “could have severe or catastrophic adverse effects”. According to two senior cyber security officials, the Chinese were responsible. But there has been no public US government response.

    “Attacks on satellites,” says one US cyber security official, “are one of the fastest-growing areas of threat. The satellite network is like a great big open back door into almost every nationally important computer network or infrastructure out there.”

    The US is spending billions improving its defences — primarily by building more capacity into its constellations and improving its tracking abilities. A $900m contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2014 to develop a radar system capable of tracking objects as small as baseballs in space in real time. But there are also hints that the US may be looking to equip its satellites with active defences and countermeasures of their own, such as jamming devices and the ability to evade interceptions.


    A purely offensive anti-satellite programme is in fast development as well. High-energy weapons and manoeuvrable orbiters such as space planes all open the possibility of the US being able to rapidly weaponise the domain beyond the atmosphere, should it feel the need to do so.

    The 1967 Outer Space Treaty had one glaring omission: it has no limits on the use of conventional weapons. Even as militaries around the world work hard to build their space weaponry arsenals, many are now wondering whether the treaty needs to be broadened.

    Just moments after President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the White House website was updated with a raft of new policy measures, including a desire for a comprehensive international ban on space weapons and anti-satellite technologies. It was a remarkable volte-face for Washington, which, angered by the Chinese test of 2007, was already racing to redevelop its space might.

    Now, with Russian and Chinese test activity peaking, Washington has become increasingly hawkish. Efforts by the state department to try to secure some kind of diplomatic agreement have been paralleled by a fast-track military development programme. There is no way to stop the weaponisation of space, US military chiefs say, except by maintaining the US’s overwhelming military superiority there. As relations with Moscow deteriorate, and friction between China and the US mounts over issues such as cyber espionage and the South China Sea, hopes of any kind of international treaty for space are fading fast.

    The satellite network is like a great big open back door into almost every nationally important computer network or infrastructure out there
    - US cyber security official


    “You won’t get the Pentagon to agree a treaty . . . but sooner or later Washington is going to have to realise something needs to be done,” says Lewis of Chatham House. “We are only increasing our dependence on space. The Pentagon is envisaging a world of single-country dominance, but these emerging technologies are equalisers. They reduce the gap and they make developed countries the most vulnerable . . . The state department know that. They know the US can’t dominate and in the long run it’s a losing battle. By fighting it, all that happens is you push others to develop their capabilities faster than they might otherwise.”

    A tangle of diplomatic efforts hobbles on. In Vienna, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (Copuous) is negotiating a set of “long-term sustainability guidelines”, while in Geneva, the UN Conference on Disarmament is debating a proposal submitted jointly by Russia and China last year: the Treaty on the Prevention of Placement of Weapons in Outer Space (PPWT). In New York, the first and second committees of the UN General Assembly are jointly meeting — for the first time last month — to broadly tackle space security. A Russian resolution known as the “No First Placement” proposal (NFP) is currently under review.

    There is significant opposition to all three. The Copuous proposal is too broad and outdated. The PPWT proposals are treated with scepticism by Washington and Europe because they ignore current existing ASAT capabilities, while the NFP rule has been dismissed as a Russian ruse. An international pledge for no first placement, one European diplomat joked, is the same thing as a Russian pledge for second placement.

    Efforts are now turning on trying to strike some kind of agreement before any formal international accord. The EU has a proposal — but it is moving slowly. Discussions on a new “code of conduct” for space, proposed by the bloc, began in earnest in July.

    “There is an urgent need for something cross-cutting and politically binding now,” says Jacek Bylica, the EU’s special envoy for non-proliferation and disarmament. “Negotiations on any treaty can carry on for decades — it has been decades since the last one was agreed. The problem we see too is that many of the initiatives at the moment are addressing the weaponisation of space in the future but not the real issue right now, which is existing anti-satellite technologies.

    “What we are proposing is a set of traffic rules for space. It would be a political commitment . . . rules on principles for the operation of all objects in space. But we are facing considerable scepticism.”

    The EU has its supporters elsewhere. Countries such as India and Brazil — both of which are increasingly dependent on civilian and commercial space activities for their economic development — want safeguards.

    “We have to focus on the practical,” says US assistant secretary Rose. “We don’t like the PPWT. But we are prepared to work with [the Russians and the Chinese] when it’s in our mutual interests. We see a lot of merit in the EU [code of conduct] proposal, but they’ve had some challenges in the diplomacy there. There’s no silver bullet. But we need strategic restraint.”

    As with any international effort at arms control, however, it may be that the only way to secure the consensus is for the threat to crystallise. Until a serious incident occurs, some rationalise, the chances of getting powerful militaries to start thinking about their limitations, rather than their capabilities, is slim.

    “Whether someone would go for an in-space or missile attack, I don’t know,” says Quintana. “But right now in international conflicts, a lot of the activities we see are exploiting the grey areas. Incidents which are deniable, for example. So maybe we’ll see an accidental collision. Or something being ‘misplaced’ in orbit. Something that is an attack, but not something that anyone can necessarily respond directly to.”

    “It might not be widely known about but it is critical,” says Bylica. “Our societies, our economies, they depend on this. For a long time our use of space was gradual — first it was for national security and then telecoms. But now everything uses it, from your GPS to your ATMs, to things you would never suspect, like gas pipelines. It’s a spectrum. And we are very vulnerable.”



    As Usual US crying over other capabilities . Rolling Eyes
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    Viktor

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  Viktor on Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:12 am

    New Kanopus-ST satellite deployed for tracking enemy subs

    LINK

    In April 2010, to the surprise of the observers, a representative of NTTs Kosmonit Vladimir Boldyrev told the official RIA Novosti news agency that instruments on the Kanopus-ST satellite would be able to detect submerged submarines, giving the Russian Ministry of Defense a new anti-submarine system. According to Boldyrev, the satellite could still be useful for civilian remote-sensing and meteorological research in addition to its military tasks.

    Although the previously quoted resolution of instruments onboard Kanopus-ST seems to be too low to discern submarines or their wake, the satellite could be a precursor for more advanced high-resolution systems.

    The alleged anti-submarine capability apparently led to the classification of the Kanopus-ST as a military payload. Further public information on the status of the project and its instruments was largely restricted.


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    George1

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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

    Post  George1 on Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:22 pm

    Here it described it as civilian Earth Observation satellite

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/kanopus-st.htm

    and the 2nd satellite that accompany it KYuA 1 as radar calibration sphere

    http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/kyua-1.htm



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    Re: Russian Military Satellites: News & Development

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