Cross-post:Quote from: Salo on 01/28/2021 05:42 amPion-NKS №901 - 02.02.2021An interesting development!If the launch is successful, this satellite should become Kosmos 2549.
Pion-NKS №901 - 02.02.2021
2 февраля - Космос (14Ф139 Пион-НКС №901) - Союз-2-1Б - Плесецк 43/?Februry 2 Kosmos 14F139 Pion NKS No. 901 - Soyuz 2-1B Plesetsk 43/?https://forum.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/index.php?topic=16307.msg2117280#msg2117280
The source for this information appears to be a Plesetsk insider who posted on the NK forum yesterday that something is going to be launched from Plesetsk on February 2. He didn't give the name of the payload, saying only that it's "like a flower". "Pion" is the Russian word for a flower called "peony" and that apparently led to the conclusion that the payload must be Pion-NKS. He may also have been referring to the satellite's radar antennas, which look a bit like flowers. Anyway, it's an interesting cryptographic way of revealing the nature of a military payload. Incidentally, Pion's sister satellite Lotos-S is also named after a flower ("lotus") (and "Liana", the overall project name, refers to the woody climbing plants that hang from trees). However, there doesn't seem to be another Lotos-S planned for the near future and Defense Minister Shoigu said last March that Pion-NKS was getting close to launch. This satellite has been grounded for many years due to technical issues, some of them most likely having to do with the Western sanctions that have hampered the import of electronic components.
Responding to speculation that the payload is Pion-NKS, the Plesetsk insider is now saying on the NK forum that "they're training with another flower, one that's already been [flown]". That most likely means the payload is a Lotos-S1 ELINT satellite. Lotos (also named after a flower) uses the same bus as Pion-NKS, so what he probably means is that flying Lotos is a good dress rehearsal for flying Pion-NKS.So far four Lotos satellites have been launched (serial nrs. 801, 802, 803, 804). A fifth satellite (14F145 nr. 805) is mentioned in some court documentation. It was ordered together with nr. 804 under a contract signed between the Ministry of Defense and the Arsenal Machine Building Factory on September 1, 2014. See for instance here:https://kad.arbitr.ru/Document/Pdf/1ef5359a-af16-4f69-97e5-af41225bae90/3d30fa30-3f77-4cfc-bac3-ce75810d9d68/A56-99136-2019_20200228_Reshenie.pdf?isAddStamp=TrueIt looks very much like this is the satellite that will be going up next week. Meanwhile, TASS has confirmed the February 2 launch date, adding that February 3 is the back-up launch date:https://tass.ru/kosmos/10570665
Candidate NOTAMs for this launch, T0: ~2200UTC?
From the Plesetsk insider on the NK forum: launch time on February 2 is 20.45.28 UTC, launch time on the back-up date (February 3) is 20.31.57 UTC.
Quote from: B. Hendrickx on 01/31/2021 07:02 pmFrom the Plesetsk insider on the NK forum: launch time on February 2 is 20.45.28 UTC, launch time on the back-up date (February 3) is 20.31.57 UTC.Can you ask for which pad?
Exact liftoff time was 20.45.28.079 UTC. Snowfall at Plesetsk. Rocket disappeared into the clouds.
https://www.militarynews.ru/story.asp?rid=1&nid=545161&lang=RUAnd Interfax now also reports successful orbit insertion.