On November 20, 2009 at 13:44 MSK (10:44 UTC) the Space Forces performed a successful launch of a Soyuz-U rocket from the launch pad No. 2 of the launch complex No. 16 of the Plesetsk launch site. The spacecraft delivered into orbit, designated Cosmos-2455, is a new generation electronic reconnaissance satellite of the Lotos-S type.

Cosmos-2455 received international designation 2009-063A and NORAD catalog number 36095. According to NORAD data, Cosmos-2455 was deployed in an initial orbit with inclination of 67.2 degrees, orbital period of about 96 minutes, apogee of 905 km, and perigee of 200 km (the perigee will most likely be raised to make the orbit closer to circular).

This is the first launch of a satellite of the Lotos-S type. It has been reported that these satellites, with their not yet flown counterparts known as Pion, will work as part of the Liana electronic reconnaissance system. This system is being designed to replace the Tselina electronic intelligence and US-PU/Legenda naval reconnaissance systems. Cosmos-2421, which operated from June 2006 to February 2008, apparently was the last US-PU satellite. The launch of Cosmos-2428 in June 2007 was reported to be the last launch of a Tselina-2 satellite. (At the same time, according to the Kommersant report quoted above, Ukraine will deliver to Russia four 11F644 Tselina spacecraft by January 2012, indicating that launches might continue.)

The launch was initially planned for July 28, 2009, but was cancelled because of problems with one of the satellite components. The spacecraft was returned to the manufacturer, Arsenal Machine Building Plant in St-Petersburg, which worked on the spacecraft together with the TsSKB-Progress Design Bureau in Samara.

UPDATE 11/23/09: After an orbit-correcting maneuver, the satellite is deployed in an orbit with perigee of 890 km, apogee of 905 km, and orbital period of 103 minutes.