Military launches in 2006 - eight more to go

The Cosmos-2420 satellite launched yesterday from Plesetsk was the first of the nine military spacecraft that are scheduled to be launched in 2006. Information about other launches is scarce, but some details are coming out - this is an attempt to get these in one place.

First, we know that three of these nine satellites are Glonass that are traditionally launched in December. It was reported earlier that the Soyuz-2 launch from Plesetsk scheduled for the third quarter of 2006 will carry a military satellite - "a radically new military spacecraft", as described by Vladimir Popovkin, the commander of the Space Forces (the name "Meridian" has been mentioned in some reports; It seems to be a new communication satellite).

At least two launches are reported to take place at Baykonur - Resurs-DK on Soyuz-U on June 15 and US-PU naval reconnaissance satellite on Tsyklon-2 on June 22 (this one will replace Cosmos-2405 that just completed its mission)

The Space Forces are planning to launch one more optical reconnaissance satellite this year - Don (aka Orlets-1; last time a satellite of this type was launched in August 2003). This will probably happen after Cosmos-2420/Kobalt completes its mission (normally in 120 days). It will be a Soyuz-U launch from Plesetsk.

The ninth satellite seems to be Tselina-2 naval reconnaissance satellite, whose launch is reported to be tentatively scheduled in June (Zenith-2 launcher, from Baykonur).

So, all 2006 military spacecraft seem to be accounted for. (This means, among other things, that the reports about possible launch of a new early-warning satellite were probably incorrect.)

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References to this entry

The talk about accelerating deployment of the Glonass system may become reality this year. After all, the president ordered the system to be completed in 2008. According to Andrey Kozlov, the director of the Reshetnev Applied Mechanics NPO, which produ...
On June 25, 2005 Russia successfully launched a Tsyklon-2 rocket from the launch complex No. 90 of the Baykonur launch site. The launch was performed by Roskosmos crews at 08:00 MSK (04:00 UTC). The satellite delivered into orbit, designated Cosmos-242...
The Space Forces will launch a Molniya-M launcher with a military satellite (likely to be designated Cosmos-2422) from Plesetsk in July. It looks like it is going to be a new US-KS/Oko early-warning satellite. Although a launch of some kind...

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