Russia Just Launched Five Objects Into Space. One Problem, There Were Supposed To Be Four

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The available information suggests that the Russians may have put yet another secretive “killer satellite” into orbit.

The Russian military says it successfully placed three classified communications satellites into orbit today, along with the upper stage of the rocket that put them there.  But according to the U.S. military’s Combined Space Operations Center, or CSpOC, a fifth object, possibly another, unannounced satellite, may have hitched a ride into space on the launch.

The Rokot/Briz-KM launch vehicle blasted off from Pad 3 at Site 133 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Western Russia at just before 5:30 PM local time on Nov. 30, 2018, according to RussianSpaceWeb.com. At approximately 7:12 PM, the three Rodnik communications satellites had deployed into their assigned orbits. Russia has named the trio of satellites Kosmos-2530, Kosmos-2531, and Kosmos-2532. Continue reading

Revealed: Russia’s New Experimental ICBM Warheads

Image Credit: Соколрус via Wikimedia Commons

 

Russia pilots independent post-boost vehicles for more precise and flexible multiple warhead delivery.

Russia tested a new and experimental type of intercontinental-range ballistic missile multiple warhead delivery method in September 2017, the Diplomat has learned.

According to a U.S. government source with knowledge of a recent U.S. intelligence assessment of Russian ballistic missile testing who spoke to the Diplomat, Russia’s strategic missile force recently tested an independent post-boost vehicle (IPBV) configuration for a three-warhead version of its solid-fuel, road-mobile RS-24 Yars ICBM. Continue reading

Russia’s Advanced New Surveillance Satellites to Keep an Eye on US Carriers

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The Russian Defense Ministry has plans to launch a new orbital surveillance system aimed to bolster the reconnaissance capabilities of the Aerospace Defense Forces. What kinds of capabilities will the new system have? One of Russia’s leading online news and analysis portals spoke to military experts to try and find out.

On Thursday, Kommersant newspaper provided a few details about a new orbital surveillance system being developed for the Russian Ministry of Defense. The new system, consisting of three brand new Razdan-class satellites, is set to be lifted into orbit between 2019 and 2024 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The system will complement and eventually replace the Persona-class optical-electronic satellites presently used by the military. The new satellite is being developed by the TsSKB-Progress research and production center. Continue reading

Does Russia Have War Bots in Space?

Moscow’s latest satellites might be bashing into other orbiting things — on purpose.

The accusations involve a trio of Russian satellites that may be “suicide” weapons, devices that can smash into and destroy other satellites. The craft are certainly suspicious. Russia did not announce the satellites or fully register them with the UN, as launch nations generally do. The craft practically dance around in orbit. One may even have collided with another object. To be fair, the satellites could be agile spy craft or repair drones. But it’s their potential as weapons that’s worrying. Continue reading

Moscow Could Be Prepping for Space War With Aggressive New Satellites

The Kremlin says its nimble new satellites are just for communications. But they look—and act—an awful lot like prototype weapons.

On Christmas Day in 2013, a rocket blasted off from the Russian Federal Space Agency’s Plesetsk Cosmodrome, about 500 miles north of Moscow. The 95-foot-tall, 118-ton Rokot booster—an unarmed version of a Cold War nuclear-tipped missile—lanced into low orbit, shedding spent stages as it climbed.

Seventy-five miles above the Earth’s surface, the Rokot’s nose cracked open and its payload spilled out. The rocket carried Rodnik communications satellites, according to Russian officials.

It’s customary for Rodnik sats to deploy in threes, but in a notification to the United Nations, Moscow listed four spacecraft inside the Christmas Rokot.

The discrepancy was strange…and got stranger.

Continue reading

Maneuvering Russian Satellite Has Everyone’s Attention

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WASHINGTON – A Russian military satellite launched in March has made at least 11 close approaches to the rocket upper stage that released it into orbit, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Air Force.

Such maneuvering capability is consistent with, but not necessarily indicative of, an on-orbit anti-satellite weapon.

Air Force officials previously said they were closely watching the satellite, and independent space tracking experts and policy analysts have joined the vigil. The maneuvers started in April, and the most recent occurred in early July, experts said, adding that in at least one case the satellite appears to have nudged the upper stage to a higher orbit. Continue reading

Russia conducts surprise Soyuz 2-1A launch carrying Kobalt-M

Russia has launched its Soyuz 2-1A rocket in a surprise mission from the Plesetsk cosmodrome at 15:24 UTC. The launch, using a rocket that recently failed during the Progress M-27M mission, was clouded under secrecy due to its payload, the Kobalt-M spy satellite – rumored to be the final film-return photo reconnaissance spacecraft.

Soyuz 2-1A Launch:

The Soyuz 2-1 rocket is derived from the earlier Soyuz-U and the Soyuz 11A511 before that – and first flew in November 2004.

The rocket was intended as an eventual replacement for all of the Soyuz and Molniya variants then in service. Continue reading