On May 17, 2012 at 18:05 MSK (14:05 UTC) the Space Forces successfully launched a Soyuz-U rocket from launch pad No. 2 of the launch complex No. 16 of the Plesetsk launch site. The satellite that was successfully delivered to orbit was designated Cosmos-2480. It is believed to be an optical reconnaissance satellite of the Kobalt-M type.

The spacecraft was registered in the U.S. Space Command catalog as the object no. 38335. It received international designation 2012-024A. According to the NORAD data, it was deployed in an orbit with perigee of about 187 km, apogee of about 255 km, and orbital period of about 89 minutes. The spacecraft was deployed in an orbit with inclination of 81.4 degrees. The previous Kobalt-M satellite, Cosmos-2472, launched in June 2011, completed its mission in October 2011.