Orlets-2 or Yenisey was an improved Orlets-1 film return reconnaissance satellite with 22 small return capsules.
Following evaluation of flight trials in April-May 1977 it was concluded that the Yantar-2K was not capable of providing strategic warning of attack. Therefore three additional variants were developed, one of them the wide-spectrum detail and survey satellite Orlets.
Orlets featured a panoramic camera and drew on features of an existing draft project designated Yantar-6K. The redesigned spacecraft was expandable, with Phase 1 (Orlets-1) being launched by the Soyuz-U2 launch vehicle, equipped with 8 film return capsules and having a design life of 60 days.
Phase 2 (Orlets-2) was launched by the much more powerful Zenit-2 launch vehicle, was equipped with 22 return capsules, and had a 180 day design life. Like the Orlets-1, the main satellite was detonated in orbit at the end of the mission and was not recovered.
Only two Orlets-2 were flown, as it relied on the ukrainian Zenit-2 launch vehicle, which was no longer desirable for russian military satellites after the break up of the Soviet Union.
|Nation:||USSR / Russia|
|Type / Application:||Reconnaissance, photo (film return)|
|Kosmos 2290 (Orlets-2 #1)||26.08.1994||TB LC-45/1||Zenit-2|
|Kosmos 2372 (Orlets-2 #2)||25.09.2000||TB LC-45/1||Zenit-2|