Author Topic: Soyuz-2.1v/Volga - Kosmos 2561/2562 - Plesetsk 43/4 - 21 Oct 2022 19:20 UTC  (Read 32970 times)

Offline Rondaz

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Soyuz 2.1v with two military satellites (presumably, #MKA №1 and №2) finally launched from Plesetsk yesterday evening. Here's the video by Roscosmos:

https://twitter.com/katlinegrey/status/1583706620806459392

Offline B. Hendrickx

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Now we have 4 objects (3 in the circular orbit, one elliptical).
So did both Soyuz stage 3 and Volga remain in orbit, despite the NOTAMs?

The latest Celestrak data are attached. The question now is if Object D is the Volga upper stage, an unannounced satellite or a piece of debris. The Volga is usually de-orbited over the southern Pacific Ocean several hours after launch and is not always catalogued. The Ministry of Defense has not (yet) issued its usual statement on the de-orbiting of the stage, which could point to a problem with the maneuver.

Offline GWR64

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There are only 3 objects left. According to Celestrak, object D was the Volga.
« Last Edit: 10/24/2022 10:11 am by GWR64 »

Offline input~2

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There are only 3 objects left. According to Celestrak, object D was the Volga.
It's a bit strange as object D was reported in a 409.5 x 419.4 km orbit on Oct 22 and was declared decayed the same day

<EPOCH>2022-10-22T16:48:39.461472
<MEAN_MOTION>15.50779296
<ECCENTRICITY>0.00072770
<INCLINATION>97.0770
<RA_OF_ASC_NODE>15.7659
<ARG_OF_PERICENTER>262.8798
<MEAN_ANOMALY>97.1627
<NORAD_CAT_ID>54112
<ELEMENT_SET_NO>999
<REV_AT_EPOCH>13
<BSTAR>0.00027188000000
<MEAN_MOTION_DOT>0.00015594
<MEAN_MOTION_DDOT>0.0000000000000
<SEMIMAJOR_AXIS>6792.587
<PERIOD>92.857
<APOAPSIS>419.394
<PERIAPSIS>409.509
<OBJECT_TYPE>ROCKET BODY
<RCS_SIZE>
<COUNTRY_CODE>CIS
<LAUNCH_DATE>2022-10-21
<SITE>PKMTR
<DECAY_DATE>2022-10-22
« Last Edit: 10/24/2022 03:48 pm by input~2 »

Offline GWR64

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There are only 3 objects left. According to Celestrak, object D was the Volga.
It's a bit strange as object D was reported in a 409.5 x 419.4 km orbit on Oct 22 and was declared decayed the same day

<EPOCH>2022-10-22T16:48:39.461472
<MEAN_MOTION>15.50779296
<ECCENTRICITY>0.00072770
<INCLINATION>97.0770
<RA_OF_ASC_NODE>15.7659
<ARG_OF_PERICENTER>262.8798
<MEAN_ANOMALY>97.1627
<NORAD_CAT_ID>54112
<ELEMENT_SET_NO>999
<REV_AT_EPOCH>13
<BSTAR>0.00027188000000
<MEAN_MOTION_DOT>0.00015594
<MEAN_MOTION_DDOT>0.0000000000000
<SEMIMAJOR_AXIS>6792.587
<PERIOD>92.857
<APOAPSIS>419.394
<PERIAPSIS>409.509
<OBJECT_TYPE>ROCKET BODY
<RCS_SIZE>
<COUNTRY_CODE>CIS
<LAUNCH_DATE>2022-10-21
<SITE>PKMTR
<DECAY_DATE>2022-10-22

My first impression was that A and D might have been doubled. I had wrote that here.
But then I changed the post, when I had researched more deeply at Celestrak.
Doubts remain, we may never know.
« Last Edit: 10/24/2022 05:51 pm by GWR64 »

Offline B. Hendrickx

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There are only 3 objects left. According to Celestrak, object D was the Volga.
It's a bit strange as object D was reported in a 409.5 x 419.4 km orbit on Oct 22 and was declared decayed the same day

Looks like it was de-orbited, just like the earlier Volga stages. Usually the Ministry of Defense issues a statement on the Volga de-orbit burn, but for some reason that didn't happen this time.

Offline Rondaz

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Obj. 54111 COSMOS 2561 & 2562 SL-4 R/B decay prediction: November 03, 2022 UTC 17h37mn ± 32h

https://twitter.com/jremis/status/1586470211674415106

Offline Rondaz

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Update: obj. 54111 COSMOS 2561 & 2562 SL-4 R/B decay prediction: November 03, 2022 UTC 16h46mn ± 20h

https://twitter.com/jremis/status/1587160355469512705

Offline Rondaz

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Update: obj. 54111 COSMOS 2561 & 2562 SL-4 R/B decay prediction: November 03, 2022 UTC 13h27mn ± 6h

https://twitter.com/jremis/status/1587842398402613253

Offline Rondaz

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Update: obj. 54111 COSMOS 2561 & 2562 SL-4 R/B decay prediction: November 03, 2022 UTC 12h36mn ± 2h

https://twitter.com/jremis/status/1588093337663217664

Offline Rondaz

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Update: obj. 54111 COSMOS 2561 & 2562 SL-4 R/B decay prediction: November 03, 2022 UTC 13h38mn ± 1h

https://twitter.com/jremis/status/1588150928426901504

Offline B. Hendrickx

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The Kosmos-2561/2562 pair has now been in orbit for about 2.5 months. Kosmos-2561 has gradually decayed from its initial 407x420 km orbit to a 401x413 km orbit and has so far not performed any orbit corrections (see attachment 1 from Celestrak). Kosmos-2562 has carried out three burns to slightly lower its orbit, two in late October and another in mid-November. There is also a small spike in the semi-major axis just before December 14, but that may have been due to inaccuracies in the data (see attachment 2). The satellite is currently being tracked in a 377x395 km orbit.

Space-Track.Org gives the radar cross section of Kosmos-2561 as “large” (more than 1 m2) and that of Kosmos-2562 as “small” (between 0.1 and 1 m2). The fact that these are not two identical satellites is also evident from the fact that they have different military designators (14F164 and 14F172), which were leaked by an insider on the NK forum shortly before launch and had never been seen before. European radio amateurs have picked up signals from Kosmos-2561 in the S-band at 2280 MHz. This is the same frequency used by the so-called inspector satellites, but it is not necessarily a sign of commonality. The S-band is commonly used for downlinking telemetry. 

The purpose of these satellites remains a mystery and all we can do is try and make some educated guesses. It is logical to assume that the two satellites were launched together because their missions are somehow interrelated. Having maneuvered to a slightly lower orbit, Kosmos-2562 orbits the Earth slightly faster than Kosmos-2561 and regularly overtakes it, with the two occasionally passing each other at a relatively close range. This may have been done deliberately to allow them to regularly interact with one another, albeit at a distance. Keeping them close together in exactly the same orbit would require much more fuel.   

As I have speculated earlier in the thread, there is a possibility that the satellites are part of a project named Numizmat, initiated in 2014 with a contract awarded by the Ministry of Defense to CNIIHM. Online procurement documentation related to this project makes it possible to conclude with a fairly high degree of certainty that one of the payloads is an ultra wideband (UWB) radar developed by the Sedakov Scientific Research Institute of Measuring Systems (NIIIS) and most likely designed to detect other objects in orbit. More on that in the Numizmat thread here:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=47851.0

Articles published by NIIIS  (some of the authors of which have signed procurement documents for Numizmat) discuss the need to study how the propagation of such UWB radar signals is affected by the ionosphere. In 2014 NIIIS published a drawing of a satellite equipped with a so-called “spectrum analyzer” designed to do just that (see attachment 3). However, this was published before NIIIS was assigned to Numizmat in early 2015, so it is not necessarily representative of the satellite’s ultimate design.

If Kosmos-2561 and 2562 belong to Numizmat, one could carry the radar and the other could serve as a target to reflect the radar signals or analyze the signals itself. The signals would probably have to travel some distance through the ionosphere for a proper analysis to be made, which could explain why the two satellites pass one another at considerable distances. The timing of this mission during a period of increased solar activity may not be coincidental because the ionosphere is now more susceptible to disturbances, especially in the polar regions, which the satellites regularly pass in their 97° inclination orbits.   

Right now Numizmat looks like the best candidate to explain this mission from the known Russian military space projects that has not yet seen a flight earlier. Also, with the project having started in 2014, its first mission is certainly overdue. But, of course, Kosmos-2561 and 2562 might just as well be part of a totally different project that has not yet been uncovered. 


Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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twitter.com/planet4589/status/1656145400426790912

Quote
The Kosmos-2562 satellite, launched in Oct 2022, appears to have a mission to carry out proximity operations with the retired Resurs-P3 satellite, whose orbit was lowered  shortly after K2562 was launched. [Thanks to a source for the tip to look at this.]
Here is the height graph

https://twitter.com/planet4589/status/1656145644262760449

Quote
And here is a graph of the separation between the two sats

Offline B. Hendrickx

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This raises the question if Kosmos-2561 is on a similar mission, even though it appears to be of a different type than Kosmos-2562 (judging from their designators 14F164 and 14F172). Kosmos-2561 does not seem to be flying in the immediate vicinity of any other satellite, but its orbital plane is currently very close to that of Resurs-P2, as can be seen in the attached screenshots from N2YO.com made today. Kosmos-2561 is in a lower orbit though:

Kosmos-2561:  392x409 km, 97.05°
Resurs-P2 : 432x443 km, 97.18°

Today Kosmos-2561 is about 10 minutes ahead of Resurs-P2 and that distance will grow in the coming days because of its lower, faster orbit. It will catch up again with Resurs-P2 in about a week, with the 10-day predictions on N2YO.com  showing the two making a simultaneous pass over Western Europe late on May 17.

Of course, all this may just be a coincidence. At any rate, if Kosmos-2561 is on a mission to inspect Resurs-P2, it is doing so at distances of no closer than 30-40 km, somewhat comparable to the range from which Kosmos-2558 is spying on USA 326.  Kosmos-2562, on the other hand, seems to have come to within less than a kilometer from Resurs-P3 on several occasions.

Like Resurs-P3, Resurs-P2 is no longer operational. Both satellites seem to have suffered problems with the systems needed to downlink imagery, but other on-board systems may still be functional. For instance, Resurs-P3 still had a functioning propulsion system last November, when it lowered its orbit to position itself for the proximity operations with Kosmos-2562. Resurs-P2 has not maneuvered in recent months.  Kosmos-2561 has so far made only two burns, a very small one in late January and a somewhat larger one in early April. Both raised its orbit, but whether they were in any way designed to optimize observations of Resurs-P2 is hard to say.

With Kosmos-2562 clearly involved in rendezvous and proximity operations with Resurs-P3, it is the fifth type of Russian satellite to engage in that sort of activity in the past decade or so, the others being 14F150 (built by NPO Lavochkin), 14F153, 14F157 and 14F162 (most likely built by CNIIHM).



Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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https://twitter.com/tskelso/status/1656486486223773696

Quote
And you can see when the closest approaches should occur at: https://celestrak.org/SOCRATES/graph-tca-range-speed.php?CATNR=41956,42771&MAXRANGE=0. Note this is based on SGP4 propagation, so it will be interesting to see how that evolves as maneuvering occurs.

Offline B. Hendrickx

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Kosmos-2562 left the immediate vicinity of Resurs P3 last July and has not made any orbit corrections since. Its orbit is now quickly decaying. It may have run out of propellant after the lengthy rendezvous and proximity operations with Resurs P3.

Meanwhile, Kosmos-2561 has become quite active in the past two weeks after nearly six months of orbital decay. It has raised its orbit four times since September 14, increasing its average altitude by more than 30 km. Before that it had made just two orbit adjustments, a small one in late January and a bigger one in early April.

According to data from Celestrak, Kosmos-2561 is now in a 407x424 km orbit with an inclination of 97.05°.  This is very close to the altitude and inclination of Resurs P1 (409x427 km, 97.06°), but the orbital planes of the two satellites are separated by about 32°, excluding any possibility of a rendezvous. It is possible, however, that Kosmos-2561 is headed for Resurs P2, which is now being tracked in a 422x432 km orbit with an inclination of 97.18°. Their orbital planes are spaced apart just a little over 1°. Like Resurs P3 and P1, Resurs P2 is no longer operational, but it could still serve as a rendezvous target for Kosmos-2561, just like Resurs P3 did for Kosmos-2562.

The recent maneuvers of Kosmos-2561 may also be totally unrelated to Resurs P2, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on the satellite’s next moves.

Online Alter Sachse

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Kosmos 2562 will enter the earth's atmosphere tomorrow.
One day you're a hero  next day you're a clown  there's nothing that is in between
        Jeff Lynne - "21century man"

Offline B. Hendrickx

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https://spacenews.com/leolabs-data-shows-on-orbit-maneuvers-by-russian-satellites/#:~:text=Cosmos%2D2562%20is%20a%20Russian,17.

Quote
LeoLabs data shows on-orbit maneuvers by Russian satellites

Sandra Erwin
November 6, 2023

WASHINGTON — The space tracking firm LeoLabs over the past year tracked two Russian satellites performing rendezvous and proximity operations. These satellites — Resurs-P3 and Cosmos-2562 — conducted maneuvers that offer a glimpse of the potential hazards that U.S. and allied spacecraft could face in low Earth orbit, the company said.

Resurs-P3 —  a Russian Earth observation satellite — performed a large maneuver in November 2022 after years of inactivity, and approached the Russian military satellite Cosmos-2562, according to a LeoLabs briefing.

The maneuver by Resurs-P3 “placed it in an entirely new orbit shared by Russian assets with non-publicly disclosed payloads,” said the briefing. “Based on the approaches observed by LeoLabs, it’s highly likely that Cosmos-2562 has an electro-optical payload and has collected high-resolution imagery of Resurs-P3.”
....

Here's a short YouTube clip showing Kosmos-2562 flying behind Resurs-P3 last June.





 

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