Spaceflight Now Home





Mission Reports




For 12 years, Spaceflight Now has been providing unrivaled coverage of U.S. space launches. Comprehensive reports and voluminous amounts of video are available in our archives.
Space Shuttle
Atlas | Delta | Pegasus
Minotaur | Taurus | Falcon
Titan



NewsAlert



Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest space news e-mailed direct to your desktop.

Enter your e-mail address:

Privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose.



Advertisement






Space Books






Spy satellite launched from Russia on Soyuz booster
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: May 17, 2012


Bookmark and Share

Russia launched a Soyuz rocket Thursday with a clandestine photo surveillance satellite designed to collect intelligence on strategic sites around the world for defense purposes.

The Soyuz-U launcher lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 1405 GMT (10:05 a.m. EDT), 6:05 p.m. Moscow time. The Plesetsk launch site is a military-run facility in Arkhangelsk oblast.

According to Russia's Novosti news agency, Thursday's mission marked the last flight of a Soyuz-U rocket from Plesetsk, which typically hosts launches of satellites headed for polar orbits.

The rocket flew north from Plesetsk to reach a high-inclination orbit carrying its payload over the poles, an orbit in which the satellite will observe nearly all of the planet.

The payload was likely a Kobalt M reconnaissance satellite carrying an optical camera to snap photos of military installations, troop movements and other sites of interest around the world.

Kobalt satellites orbit between 150 miles and 300 miles above Earth.

High-resolution cameras on Kobalt satellites capture images of locations around the world. Kobalt spacecraft reportedly carry canisters to return film to Earth during the satellite's mission, which will last at least several months.

The payload will be named Kosmos 2472 in the Russian military's nomenclature for defense spacecraft.

Thursday's Soyuz launch was the first of three space missions due to blast off in a span of about five hours.

A Japanese H-2A rocket was in the final countdown at the time of the Soyuz launch. It will deliver four satellites into orbit, including a research craft to probe the link between water and climate change.

A commercial International Launch Services Proton booster was on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with the Nimiq 6 telecommunications satellite to serve Telesat, an operator based in Ottawa, Canada.

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

STS-134 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Project Orion
The Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA's first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.
 U.S. STORE


Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.