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US-A and US-P military satellites

By 1957, Nikita Khrushchev had finally won struggle for power in the post-Stalinist Soviet Union. Among many sweeping changes the new leader started in the USSR was the modernization of the Soviet Navy. (109) Khrushchev scrapped the construction of grandiose battleships ordered by Joseph Stalin, opting instead for smaller maneuverable Navy armed with cruise missiles. (87)


series

Soviet satellites developed within the MKRTs project: the US-A radar-carrying satellite (top left); the US-P electronic-intelligence satellite (middle right) and the Plazma-A experimental satellite with the Topaz thermo-emission power generator (bottom left).


At the time of Khrushchev's ascent, the OKB-52 design bureau within the Ministry of Aviation Industry, MAP, worked on the development of cruise missiles. Not surprisingly, Vladimir Chelomei, the head of OKB-52 soon found himself at the front of a large-scale program aimed to equip the Soviet Navy with long-range cruise missiles.

Concept of MKRTs system

Although Soviet engineers were quickly able to advance the range and speed of cruise missiles, the improvements brought new technical challenges. The new generation of Chelomei's missiles designated P-6 could now strike beyond the range of radar installed on the ships which launched them. (34, 84) This meant that a new guidance system was necessary if the Soviet Navy wanted to use the full capability of the new weapon.

It was Vladimir Chelomei himself who offered the solution. He proposed space-based radar and electronic intelligence spacecraft which could pinpoint the location of enemy ships. After a series of preliminary studies, apparently initiated in 1959-1960 (70), the Soviet government authorized the development of such system with two official decrees, issued on June 23, 1960, and on March 16, 1961. (29)

During 1961, the OKB-52 design bureau successfully completed the formal approval of the system and in 1962, the organization completed the preliminary design of the system, composed of multiple satellites designated Upravlyaemy Sputnik ("controlled satellite") or US for short. (29)

The overall system was called MKRTs and included two sub-systems which were designed to feed the targeting data to a centralized control facility. The first sub-system included a network of satellites designated US-P which were designed to intercept radio-signals emitted by enemy ships. The letter "P" meant "passivniy" (passive) as oppose to the second sub-system of the network consisting of US-A or "aktivniy" (active) spacecraft. The US-A satellites were to be equipped with radar to locate ships, even if they maintained total "radio-silence" and would, therefore, remain undetectable for the US-P satellites. (79)

Unlike many other military systems, where the USSR struggled to catch up with the West, the MKRTs-type network was a pioneering development. Its creation testifies to how seriously the Soviet leadership was taking the threat coming from the Western sea powers.

Nuclear power onboard

One of the most serious engineering challenges facing the developers of the US-P satellite was its power-hungry radar. The relative low efficiency of existing solar power-generating systems and their inability to produce electricity on the night side of the Earth forced spacecraft developers to seek help from their colleagues in the atomic industry, which worked on the miniaturization of nuclear reactors. There was hope that it would be possible to produce a nuclear-powered generator light and small enough to be installed aboard the satellite. Of course, the development of a portable nuclear power source for space posed huge technical challenges of its own, first of all in the area of safety.

The first Soviet nuclear generator for the US-P spacecraft became known as BES-5 Buk. It used the so-called thermal-electric principle -- the simplest method of converting the heat from the reactor into electricity. The development phases of the BES-5 Buk project were authorized by several decrees of the Soviet of Ministers: No. 258-110 on March 16, 1961, No. 702-295 on July 3, 1962, and No. 651-244 on August 24, 1965. Also, in 1963, the Soviet nuclear industry began work on more efficient but complex thermo-emission power sources, which became known as Topaz and Yenisei. (894)

The structure of the MKRTs network

An official Russian source (70), published after the Cold War, revealed the existence of unnamed opposition to the development of the specialized MKRTs system. The alternative proposals, apparently within the Ministry of Defense, called for merging the proposed Navy orbital targeting system with the Tselina electronic-intelligence network which was under development at the same time. The Tselina system was expected to intercept radio signals across a wide range of electromagnetic spectrum, as oppose to MKRTs network, which was designed to primarily focus on frequencies used by the ships.

According to critics of the MKRTs network, the "unified" system could address the needs of all services within the armed forces including the Soviet Navy. However, the competing interests within the Soviet Ministry of Defense precluded the creation of such a "unified" constellation. In addition, plans by the MKRTs developers to include the "active" radar-carrying spacecraft into the network also favored the Navy-specific system. A single ground control and data processing center was proposed to manage both, the US-A and US-P sub-networks. That architecture allowed creating a centralized guidance system for the Soviet sea-based missile forces.

Forming an industrial development team

The OKB-52 design bureau was the original "lead organization" in the development of the MKRTs network, while the KB-1 bureau, subordinated to the Ministry of Radio Industry, took responsibility for radio systems. However, in 1964, KB-1 was assigned the overall responsibility for the system, while OKB-52 became the primary developer of the US-A and US-P spacecraft for the constellation.

By May 1969, OKB-52, (by then renamed NPO Mashinostroenia) was finalizing the production of the design documentation for the US-A spacecraft, however the documentation for the US-P system was not ready. (79)

At the time, OKB-52, which had also started the development of the Almaz orbital station, and was involved in a number of other ambitious projects, had no production capacity for the serial manufacturing of US-A and -P satellites in the numbers required for the operational deployment and replenishment of the network. As a result, the Leningrad-based KB Arsenal, previously specialized in artillery and missile development, was brought into the project. On April 30, 1969, the Military Industrial Commission, VPK, within the Presidium of the Soviet of Ministers made the official decision to assign KB Arsenal the serial production of the US-A and US-P spacecraft.

Specifically for the project, a special spacecraft division was formed within KB Arsenal. After the necessary expansion and upgrades of its manufacturing and testing facilities in Leningrad, KB Arsenal launched pilot production of the US-type spacecraft in 1970.

Flight testing

Vladimir Chelomei originally proposed launching the US-A and US-P spacecraft, as well as the IS anti-satellite system, on a launch vehicle derived from OKB-52's UR-200 ballistic missile. With the cancellation of the UR-200 program in 1964, both spacecraft were moved to a R-36-based launcher, later known as Tsyklon-2. However, because the US and IS systems were ready for flight tests before the Tsyklon-2 entered service, early spacecraft were adapted for the R-7-derived launch vehicles.

On August 24, 1965, the Soviet government issued a decree clearing the way for flight testing of the US-type spacecraft.

In 1965 and 1966, a two-stage version of the 11A510 (Voskhod) vehicle launched two prototypes of the US-A spacecraft. During both missions, traditional electrical batteries replaced the nuclear power generators eventually planned for the spacecraft. (29)

Initial flight testing was recognized as successful and another batch of launches started at the end of 1967 with the specific purpose of trying out an upgraded design of the US-A spacecraft which was capable of detaching and boosting its nuclear power source from its operational altitude to a much higher burial orbit.

In operation

The US-A sub-system was declared operational in 1971 and the joint flight testing of the US-A spacecraft with the MKRTs system started at the end of 1970. Admiral N. N. Amelko led the State Commission overseeing flight testing.

Launches for the operational use of the system commenced in 1975. According to KB Arsenal, a total of 36 US-A satellites and one US-AM were launched and 35 of them reached orbit. A total of 32 satellites carried the BES-5 Buk nuclear power source, but one of them did not make it into orbit. The two US-A spacecraft with operational nuclear power sources made emergency reentries, while 29 vehicles with BES-5 nuclear sources were boosted to burial orbits with altitudes between 700 and 800 kilometers. (893) However, a total of 10 reactor-carrying satellites experienced various malfunctions in orbit. (894)

The low reliability of the nuclear-powered energy sources was the main reason for delays in the US-A flight test program. According to an official Russian source, the short life span of US-A satellites and reliability problems prevented the full-scale deployment of the US-A sub-system. (70)

In 1987, within the Plazma-A experimental program, two 3.5-ton satellites, under official names Kosmos-1818 and -1867, were launched into a 800-kilometer orbit with an inclination 65 degrees toward the Equator. They were equipped with the TEU Topaz reactors, which used fast-neutron thermo-emission principle instead of the Buk thermo-electric units on previous satellites. Kosmos-1818 and 1867 functioned for 120 and 342 days respectively and flight testing of the Topaz power generators was later described as promising, but in 1988, further launches of US-A spacecraft equipped with nuclear sources of power had been discontinued.

The US-P spacecraft and their modifications, known as US-PM and US-PU, continued flying at the turn of the 21st century and the last satellite in the series was launched in June 2006. According to KB Arsenal, a total of 50 US-P satellites were launched, 49 of them reached orbit and 48 functioned. Among manufactured satellites 23 were US-P version, 17 were US-PM (16 of them functioned) and 10 were US-PU. (893)

Follow-on to MKRTs

In 1978, TsNII Kometa started development of the second-generation MKRTs system, completing technical proposals in 1979 and 1980. In June 1981, the Soviet government issued a decree authorizing development of the follow-on MKRTs system, known as Ideogramma-Pirs. It called for a two-phase development schedule, including a preliminary design of the sub-system for detecting surface vessels and technical proposals for a much more sophisticated sub-system, whose satellites would be able to locate submerged vessels. The government asked for bids to develop the spacecraft for the new MKRTs from NPO Energia in Podlipki near Moscow, from Leningrad-based PO Arsenal and Kuibyshev-based TsKBM, the developer of the Yantar reconnaissance satellites.

In 1982, PO Arsenal completed the preliminary design of the Ideogramma-Pirs system. After reviewing the project, an inter-agency commission approved its development schedule on December 12, 1982. Fleet Admiral S. G. Gorshkov, the Chief Commander of the Soviet Navy played a key role in moving the project forward. According to an official Russian source (76), Gorshkov helped resolve disagreements between the Russian Space Forces, GUKOS, and the Soviet Navy, VMF, on one side and the Ministry of General Machine-building, MOM, and the Ministry of Radio Industry, Minradioprom, on the other, over the subject of allocating contracts and development responsibilities in the MKRTs project.

The first phase of the project called for the development of the operational Pirs-1 complex, while during the second stage, an experimental complex, code-named Forvater, would be launched. By 1983, TsNII Kometa was expected to complete technical proposals for the overall system and PO Arsenal for the spacecraft itself. In September 1982, the Soviet Navy issued a technical assignment for the overall system, and in September 1983, GUKOS issued a technical assignment for the spacecraft.

TsNII Kometa and PO Arsenal submitted technical proposals for the system during 1983. This time, however, there was a conflict between the technical proposals on the spacecraft and the overall system, due to disagreements between MOM and Minradioprom. Finally, in December 1984, the government decreed that the first phase of the project to be completed by 1990, and the second stage by 1993.

For the next-generation of the naval electronic-intelligence satellite, KB Arsenal was working on a new platform which would be launched on a Zenit-2 rocket. However, with the disintegration of the USSR, which left the production of the Zenit rockets in the newly independent republic of Ukraine, the prospective platform had to be re-tailored for the smaller Soyuz-2 launcher. (110)

Recent launches

2001 Dec. 21: After a two-day delay, a Ukrainian-built Tsyklon-2 booster successfully delivered a Russian electronic intelligence spacecraft on Friday.

A 182-ton two-stage rocket lifted off from Site 90 in Baikonur at 07:00 Moscow Time on December 21. The rocket successfully inserted the spacecraft into a transfer orbit with an apogee of 400 kilometers. The satellite, officially designated Kosmos-2383, was then expected to use its own propulsion system to reach a final orbit around 07:48 Moscow Time on December 21. The rocket was carrying a US-PU satellite built by KB Arsenal development center in St. Petersburg and designed to provide electronic intelligence and missile guidance information for the Russian Navy.

During his visit to KB Arsenal in St. Petersburg in 2001, the commander of the Russian Space Forces, VKS, General Perminov indicated that another US-P spacecraft would be launched before the end of the year.

This was the first launch of the US-type spacecraft since December 1999 and the 104th launch of the Tsyklon-2 booster.


2004 May 28: Russia launched a classified military payload to monitor foreign Navy activities. According to the Russian Space Forces, KVR, a Tsyklon-2 rocket carrying a Kosmos-series satellite lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 10:00 Moscow Time. Four minutes later, the spacecraft separated from the upper stage of the launch vehicle. The payload was identified as Kosmos-2405. This mission was originally expected at the end of 2002.


2006 June 25: Russian military received a new spacecraft for orbital electronic intelligence, ELINT.

The Tsyklon-2 rocket lifted off from Site 90 in Baikonur Cosmodrome on June 25, 2006, at 08:00 Moscow Time.

An official statement by the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, said only that the launch vehicle had carried a payload for the Ministry of Defense and the mission had proceeded nominally. It is known that Tsyklon-2's missions from Baikonur carry electronic intelligence satellites of the US-PU family. The previous spacecraft of this type was deorbited on April 28, 2006.

This mission was previously expected to take off on June 22, 2006. The spacecraft was officially designated as Kosmos-2421.

On July 3, 2006, the Kommersant newspaper reported that the satellite had failed to deploy one of its two solar panels, leaving the spacecraft without enough power to perform its nominal tasks. Flight controllers reportedly spent a week commanding the satellite to conduct a number of maneuvers in an effort to force the panel to deploy, but without much success. At the time, KB Arsenal, the spacecraft developer, still hoped to solve the problem, the newspaper said.

The Kommersant article was followed by a publication from the official ITAR-TASS news agency which said that two out of eight solar panels had failed to deploy and that, after an additional effort by ground control, one of two failed panels had deployed. Controllers continued working on solving the problem which did not affect overall performance of the spacecraft, the statement said.

On July 12, 2006, Roskosmos disclosed that Kosmos-2421 carried the KONUS-A piggyback science payload, developed by Yoffe FizTekh Institute and designed to detect gamma-ray bursts.

Kosmos-2421 apparently ceased to function on March 14, 2008. It then moved away from its operational orbit on Feb. 16, 2008, and disintegrated around March 19, 2008, generating more than 500 detectable debris.


 

The MKRTs project industrial development team:

Responsibility
Developer Leading designer Location
Overall design
KB-1 (OKB-41/TsNII Kometa)
A. I. Savin
Moscow
The US spacecraft
OKB-52
Vladimir Chelomei
Reutov
US spacecraft production
KB Arsenal
Vladimir Kalabin
Leningrad
US-A radar system
NII Priborostroenia
I. A. Brukhanskiy, P. O. Salgavik
Moscow
US-P ELINT system
NIRTI (Minradioprom)
S. I. Baburin, V. L. Grechka
Kaluga
US spacecraft propulsion system
Turaevskoe MKB Soyuz (Minaviaprom)
V. G. Stepanov, D. D. Gelevich
Lutkarino
US spacecraft attitude control system
TsKB Almaz (Minradioprom)
P. M. Kirillov
-
US spacecraft telemetry system
NII Priborostroenia (MOM)
V. V. Khramov, V. B. Kharin
-
Nuclear power generator
OKB-670 (NPO Krasnaya Zvezda)
M. M. Bondaryuk, G.M. Gryaznov, V.I. Serbin
Moscow

 

Overview of US-A/P spacecraft versions:

Type
Designation
Notes
US-A
ER
Original version with Buk nuclear power generator
US-AM
ERM
Upgraded version with Buk-3 nuclear generator first launched in July 1987
?
E1
Radar satellite equipped with solar panels
?
E1M
Radar satellite with solar panels
US-P
E2
Original version of electronic intelligence satellite
US-PM
E2M
Upgraded version ELINT satellite introduced in 1985
US-PU
E2U
Upgraded version of ELINT satellite introduced in 1988
?
E2N
Upgraded spacecraft for the Zenit rocket
Plazma-A
E3A
An experimental satellite with a Topol and Topaz nuclear generator
?
E4
Upgraded spacecraft for the Zenit rocket

 

Launches of spacecraft in the US-A/P series:

The Tsyklon-2 rocket (variants 11K67 and 11K69), launched from Site 90 in Baikonur delivered all but first two spacecraft.

Launch date
Name Orbit** Life span
(79)
Type
Mission details
1965 Dec. 28
Kosmos-102
218x278
17*
US bus
A prototype launched on a Voskhod/11A510 launcher. According to KB Arsenal, the mission aimed to conduct autonomous test of the spacecraft without BES-5 power source and a radar. The launch also had to test operation of SOS and the main propulsion system. The spacecraft functioned for one orbit. (893)
1966 July 20
Kosmos-125
250x250
-
US bus
A prototype launched on a Voskhod/11A510 launcher. According to KB Arsenal, the mission aimed to conduct autonomous test of the spacecraft without BES-5 power source and a radar. The launch also had to test operation of SOS and the main propulsion system. The spacecraft functioned for eight orbits. (893)
1967 Dec. 27
Kosmos-198
281x265
2
US-A
Phase II in testing. Launched by the 11K67 vehicle. According to KB Arsenal, the mission aimed to conduct autonomous test of the spacecraft with a mockup of the BES-5 power source and the transfer of the reactor to the "dissipation" (burial) orbit. The spacecraft functioned for 13.5 orbits. (893)
1968 March 22
Kosmos-209
282x250
6
US-A
Phase II in testing. Launched by the 11K67 vehicle. According to KB Arsenal, the mission aimed to conduct autonomous test of the spacecraft with a mockup of the BES-5 power source and the transfer of the reactor to the "dissipation" (burial) orbit. The spacecraft functioned for 8.5 orbits. (893)
1969 Jan. 25
-
-
-
US-A
Phase II in testing. According to KB Arsenal, the mission aimed to conduct autonomous test of the spacecraft with a mockup of the BES-5 power source and the transfer of the reactor to the "dissipation" (burial) orbit. The spacecraft failed to reach orbit due to failure of the 11K67 vehicle.
1970 Oct. 3
Kosmos-367
280x250
-
US-A

According to KB Arsenal, the mission called for integrated tests of the spacecraft and the MKRTs system. (893) Failed shortly after reaching orbit (34) The first Soviet vehicle equipped with a BES-5/Buk nuclear reactor (Serial No. 31) operated for only 110 minutes (1.5 orbit) due to overheating of the main loop as a result of the melting of the reactor core. The reactor was then boosted to a burial orbit. (894)

1971 April 1
Kosmos-402
279x261
8
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, the mission called for joint tests of the spacecraft and the MKRTs system. The satellite functioned for two orbits. (893)
1971 Dec. 25
Kosmos-469
276x259
10
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, the mission called for joint tests of the spacecraft and the MKRTs system. The satellite functioned for nine days. (893)
1972 Aug. 21
Kosmos-516
277x256
31
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, the mission called for joint tests of the spacecraft and the MKRTs system. The satellite functioned for 32 days. (893)
1973 April 25
-
-
-
US-A
Failure of the launch vehicle (?). According to KB Arsenal, the mission called for joint tests of the spacecraft and the MKRTs system, but the satellite fell into the Pacific Ocean with inactive reactor. (893)
1973 Dec. 27
Kosmos-626
280x257
46
US-A
First US-A spacecraft manufactured at KB Arsenal. (79) According to the company, the mission called for joint tests of the spacecraft and the MKRTs system along with routine operations. The spacecraft functioned for 45 days (893) and experienced a malfunction. (894)
1974 May 15
Kosmos-651
276x256
71
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, the mission called for joint tests of the spacecraft and the MKRTs system along with routine operations. The spacecraft functioned for 71 days (893) and experienced a malfunction. (894)
1974 May 17
Kosmos-654
277x261
74
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, the mission called for joint tests of the spacecraft and the MKRTs system along with routine operations. The spacecraft functioned for 75 days. (893)
1974 Dec. 24
Kosmos-699
454x436
-
US-P
The first US-P spacecraft manufactured at KB Arsenal. (79) Exploded on April 17, 1975. (34) Reportedly, it maneuvered in March 1975, destroyed in April and August 1975. (147) According to KB Arsenal, the spacecraft functioned for 80 days and its mission included integrated tests of the US-P satellite and the overall system. Also, the Kortik-S payload and the propulsion system had been tested. (893)
1975 April 2
Kosmos-723
277x256
46
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was the first fully operational use of the US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 44 days. (893)
1975 April 7
Kosmos-724
276x258
65
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of the US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 65 days (893) and experienced a malfunction. (894)
1975 Oct. 29
Kosmos-777
456x437
-
US-P
Exploded in January 1976. According to KB Arsenal, the mission called for joint tests of the spacecraft and the overall system along with regular operations and testing of the panel opening of the Kortik-S instrument. The spacecraft functioned for 75 or 89 days. (893)
1975 Dec. 12
Kosmos-785
278x259
1
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational launch of the US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for four orbits, before the unsanctioned activation of the deorbiting sequence. (893) According to (894), during the mission was the first fully successful operation of the BES-5/Buk reactor.
1976 July 2
Kosmos-838
456x438
-
US-P
Exploded in the Summer of 1977. According to KB Arsenal, the spacecraft functioned for 131 days and its mission included testing of the Ritm payload for detecting surface ships and integrated tests of the spacecraft and overall system. (893)
1976 Oct. 17
Kosmos-860
278x260
24
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of the US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 24 days (893) and experienced a malfunction. (894)
1976 Oct. 21
Kosmos-861
280x256
60
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of the US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 60 days. (893)
1976 Nov. 26
Kosmos-868
457x438
-
US-P
According to KB Arsenal, the spacecraft functioned for 35 days and its mission included testing of the Ritm payload for detecting surface ships and integrated tests of the system. (893)
1977 Aug. 24
Kosmos-937
457x438
-
US-P
According to KB Arsenal, the spacecraft functioned for 153 days and its mission included routine operations and testing of the Ritm payload for detecting surface ships. (893)
1977 Sept. 16
Kosmos-952
278x258
22
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of the US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 21 day. (893)
1977 Sept. 18
Kosmos-954
277x251
-
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of the US-A satellite. (893) The spacecraft functioned for 110 days, before making an emergency reentry over Canada, resulting in radioactive contamination of the impact site.
1979 April 18
Kosmos-1094
457x437
-
US-P
Operated in pair? According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 30 days. (893)
1979 April 25
Kosmos-1096
457x439
-
US-P
Operated in pair? According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 65 days. (893)
1980 March 14
Kosmos-1167
457x433
372
US-P
Worked in parallel with Kosmos-1176 and Kosmos-1220. (147) According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 165 days. (893)
1980 April 29
Kosmos-1176
265x260
134
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite which also included testing of the Additional Radiation Safety System, DSRB. The satellite operated for 134 days. (893)
1980 Nov. 4
Kosmos-1220
454x432
145
US-P
Orbit inclination was shifted three degrees relative to the one of Kosmos-1167's. (147) Reentered on Feb. 16, 2014 at 05:58 Moscow Time. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 124 days. (893)
1981 March 5
Kosmos-1249
264x251
106
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite which also included testing of the Additional Radiation Safety System, DSRB. The satellite operated for 107 days. (893)
1981 March 21
Kosmos-1260
447x428
176
US-P
Operated in pair with Kosmos-1286. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 92 days. (893)
1981 April 21
Kosmos-1266
267x248
8
US-A
Failure. According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for eight days. (893)
1981 Aug. 4
Kosmos-1286
444x431
224
US-P
Operated in pair with Kosmos-1260. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 85 days. (893)
1981 Aug. 24
Kosmos-1299
266x247
13
US-A
Failure. According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 13 days. (893)
1981 Sept. 14
Kosmos-1306
424x171
150
US-P
Speculated booster problem resulted in a lower orbit, which was raised after 8 days. Replaced Kosmos-1260. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 101 day. (893)
1982 Feb. 11
Kosmos-1337
446x428
8
US-P
Operated in pair with Kosmos-1286 and 1306. Failure of the propulsion or flight control system. (147) According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that failed after three orbits. (893)
1982 April 29
Kosmos-1355
446x428
249
US-P
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 187 days. (893)
1982 May 14
Kosmos-1365
264x252
136
US-A
Worked in pair with Kosmos-1372 (147). According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 136 days. (893)
1982 June 2
Kosmos-1372
270x246
71-72
US-A
Worked in pair with Kosmos-1365. (147) According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 72 days. (893)
1982 Aug. 30
Kosmos-1402
264x251
120
US-A
Failed in orbit. Reentered in 1983. (147) According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 121 days before making an emergency reentry with the activation of the Additional Radiation Safety System, DSRB. The impact took place in the Southern section of the Atlantic Ocean. (893)
1982 Sept. 4
Kosmos-1405
444x430
91
US-P
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 41 days. (893)
1982 Oct. 2
Kosmos-1412
266x251
39
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 40 days. (893)
1983 May 7
Kosmos-1461
444x429
268
US-P
Disintegrated in 1985 into around 180 fragments. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 193 days. (893)
1983 Oct. 29
Kosmos-1507
442x433
222
US-P
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 107 days. (893)
1984 May 30
Kosmos-1567
442x432
538
US-P
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 260 days. (893)
1984 June 29
Kosmos-1579
264x249
125
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 90 days. (893)
1984 Aug. 7
Kosmos-1588
446x426
341
US-P
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 307 days. (893)
1984 Oct. 31
Kosmos-1607
264x250
93
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 94 days. (893)
1985 Jan. 23
Kosmos-1625
370x116
-
US-PM
Speculated failure of the 2nd stage re-ignition. Reentered after few hours. According to KB Arsenal, the mission aimed to test the upgraded US-PM spacecraft with the overall system. The spacecraft failed to reach an operational orbit. (893)
1985 April 18
Kosmos-1646
443x429
312
US-P
Exploded in orbit. (147) According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 65 days. (893)
1985 Aug. 1
Kosmos-1670
264x252
83
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 83 days (893) and experienced a malfunction. (894)
1985 Aug. 23
Kosmos-1677
263x251
61
US-A
According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 60 days (893) and experienced a malfunction. (894)
1985 Sept. 19
Kosmos-1682
370x116
382
US-P
Speculated failure of the 2nd stage re-ignition. Reentered after few hours. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 382 days. (893)
1986 Feb. 27
Kosmos-1735
-
613
US-PM
First (successfully launched) US-P-type (US-PM) spacecraft developed at KB Arsenal. (79) According to KB Arsenal, it was an integrated tests of the upgraded US-PM spacecraft with the system along with operational use. The spacecraft operated for 535 days. (893)
1986 March 21
Kosmos-1736
-
92
US-A
Failed in orbit (?). According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 92 days. (893)
1986 March 24
Kosmos-1737
-
254
US-P
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-P mission that lasted 254 days. (893)
1986 Aug. 4
Kosmos-1769
-
367
US-P
(147) According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-P mission that lasted 367 days. (893)
1986 Aug. 20
Kosmos-1771
-
56
US-A
Deorbited on Oct. 15, 1986. (147) According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 55 days. (893)
1987 Feb. 2
Kosmos-1818
~800 (320)
142
US-A
Launched with a new Topaz thermo-emission nuclear power unit within the Plazma-A experimental program, replacing the Buk thermoelectric source in the previous models. In January 2009, chief of Russian space forces essentially confirmed US reports (320) that on or about July 4, 2008, the spacecraft released a cloud of small fragments, possibly droplets of sodium-potassium coolant from its nuclear reactor. Kosmos-1818 was expected to decay in 2045. According to KB Arsenal, the spacecraft functioned for 120 days. (893)
1987 April 8
Kosmos-1834
-
-
US-PM
(147) According to KB Arsenal, it was an integrated test of the upgraded US-PM spacecraft with the system along with operational use. The spacecraft operated for 509 days. (893)
1987 June 18
Kosmos-1860
-
40
US-A
(147). According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 38 days. (893)
1987 July 10
Kosmos-1867
~800 (320)
342
US-A
First US-AM version. Equipped with a new thermo-emission nuclear power unit, Buk-3/Topaz, rather than a thermoelectric one in the previous models. (320)
1987 Oct. 10
Kosmos-1890
-
-
US-P
(147) According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational mission that lasted 423 days. (893)
1987 Dec. 12
Kosmos-1900
-
128
US-A
Failed in orbit. First US-A-type spacecraft developed at KB Arsenal. (79) Deorbited after uncontrolled descent. (147). According to KB Arsenal, it was a test launch the US-AM satellite variant with an upgraded BES-5 nuclear power system. The spacecraft functioned for 74 days (893) and experienced a malfunction. (894)
1988 March 14
Kosmos-1932
-
66
US-A
Last US-A. Deorbited May 19, 1988. According to KB Arsenal, it was operational launch of a US-A satellite. The spacecraft functioned for 68 days. (893)
1988 May 28
Kosmos-1949
-
662
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an integrated test of the upgraded US-PU spacecraft with the system along with operational use. The spacecraft operated for 662 days. (893)
1988 Nov. 18
Kosmos-1979
-
374
US-PM
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 118 days. (893)
1989 July 24
Kosmos-2033
-
516
US-PM
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 518 days. (893)
1989 Sept. 27
Kosmos-2046
-
560
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an integrated test of the upgraded US-PU spacecraft with the system along with operational use. The spacecraft operated for 562 days. (893)
1989 Nov. 24
Kosmos-2051
-
625
US-PM
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 261 days. (893)
1990 March 14
Kosmos-2060
-
-
US-PM
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 526 days. (893)
1990 Aug. 23
Kosmos-2096
-
-
US-PM
Replaced Kosmos-2051. (147) According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 495 days. (893)
1990 Nov. 14
Kosmos-2103
-
-
US-PM
Apparently failed on Jan. 2, 1991, after functioning for 49 days. Reentered on April 3, 1991, while out of control. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 59 days. (893)
1990 Dec. 4
Kosmos-2107
-
-
US-PM
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 463 days. (893)
1991 Jan. 18
Kosmos-2122
-
-
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PU mission that lasted 777 days. (893)
1993 March 30
Kosmos-2238
-
-
US-PM
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 541 days. (893)
1993 April 28
Kosmos-2244
-
657
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 666 days. (893)
1993 July 7
Kosmos-2258
-
603
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 604 days. (893)
1993 Sept. 17
Kosmos-2264
-
564
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 534 days. (893)
1994 Nov. 2
Kosmos-2293
-
510
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 510 days. (893)
1995 June 8
Kosmos-2313
-
684
US-PU
Desintegrated on June 26, 1997. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PM mission that lasted 685 days. (893)
1995 Dec. 20
Kosmos-2326
-
660
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PU mission that lasted 660 days. The satellite also carried a Konus-A scientific payload. (893)
1996 Dec. 11
Kosmos-2335
-
726
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PU mission that lasted 728 days. (893)
1997 Dec. 9
Kosmos-2347
-
710
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PU mission that lasted 712 days. (893) Desintegrated on Nov. 22, 1999.
1999 Dec. 26
Kosmos-2367
-
-
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PU mission that lasted 701 day. Additionally, the satellite carried a Konus-A science instrument. (893)
2001 Dec. 21
Kosmos-2383
-
-
US-PU
According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PU mission that lasted 792 days. (893) 13 fragments detected in March 2004.
2004 May 28
Kosmos-2405
-
-
US-PU
Mission delayed from the end of 2002(?). According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PU mission that lasted 741 days. (893) Deorbited on April 28, 2006.
2006 June 25
Kosmos-2421
-
-
US-PU
The launch was delayed from June 22, 2006. According to KB Arsenal, it was an operational US-PU mission that lasted 604 days. (893) Carried a Konus-A gamma-ray detector.

*Time until reentry

** In all launches the orbit inclination had been around 65 degrees

 

 

Page author: Anatoly Zak; Last update: January 2, 2020

Page editor: Alain Chabot; Last edit: January 2, 2020

All rights reserved

 

insider content

 

Artist rendering of the US-A spacecraft. Credit: KB Arsenal


A scale model of US-A spacecraft. Credit: KB Arsenal


The US-A spacecraft at NPO Mash facility in Reutov near Moscow in deployed configuration. Credit: NPO Mash


The US-A spacecraft in folded configuration. Credit: KB Arsenal


Scale model of the nuclear-powered generator used onboard US-A spacecraft. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak


Scale model of the US-P spacecraft in deployed configuration. Credit: KB Arsenal


The US-P spacecraft during pre-launch processing. Credit: KB Arsenal


The propulsion unit of the US-A and US-P spacecraft. Credit: KB Arsenal


A follow-on ELINT satellite platform to be launched by the Zenit-2 rocket. Credit: KB Arsenal


Launch

Launch

Launch

A Tsyklon-2 rocket launches the last US-PM satellite in 2006. Credit: Roskosmos


Kosmos-2421

The Kosmos-2421 satellite with a KONUS-A gamma-ray detector Credit: Roskosmos