A number of fragments separated from the Cosmos-2423 photo reconnaissance satellite on November 14, 2006. According to the information of the U.S. Space Command, the satellite generated 28 catalogued fragments (NORAD catalog numbers 29604-29631, international designations 2006-039D to 2006-039AG).

The Cosmos-2423 satellite was launched on September 14, 2006. It was reported to be the last satellite of the its class, known as Don or Orlets-1.

The number of fragments strongly suggests a malfunction. At the same time, its predecessor, Cosmos-2399, also experienced fragmentation during its flight, which were attributed to problems with film separation mechanism. Cosmos-2399 appeared to continue operations after the fragmentation.

Unlike Cosmos-2399, however, which was approaching the end of its mission at the time of the fragmentation, Cosmos-2423 has been in operation for about 60 days, which is considerably shorter than the usual Don satellites lifetime of up to 120 days. This may indicate an abnormal end of the mission.

UPDATE 11/19/06: Cosmos-2423 de-orbited on November 17, 2006. According to some reports, the satellite completed its mission successfully.

UPDATE 11/20/06: In response to a story in today's Kommersant that mentioned a possibility of a malfunction, the Space Forces issued a statement, in which they insisted that the satellite mission had been completed fully and successfully.