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EMKA (Zvesda ?)

The Russian EMKA is small military satellite optical reconnaissance satellite.

It was built by NPP VNIIEM. It is likely the same satellite identified in earlier reports as Zvesda. The 150 kg satellite was reportedly inspired by the US American commercial Earth imaging satellites of the SkySat 1 series. It features a camera built by the Belarusian company OAO Peleng with a maximum ground resolution of 0.9 meters in panchromatic mode.

Reportedly EMKA is the precursor of a slightly bigger 250 kg satellite called MKA-V (or possibly Razbeg), that can make high-resolution images for both civilian and military purposes.

The first satellite, Kosmos 2525, was launched on a Soyuz-2-1v launch vehicle in March 2018. One of the objectives of the mission has been to observe ground-based optical calibration targets developed at the Moscow Polytechnic University.

Kosmos 2551 successfully reached orbit, but did not exhibit any signs of activity afterwards. As it did not raise its initial orbit, it is expected to reenter on 21 October 2021.

Kosmos 2555, also called MKA-R, was launched on the maiden orbital flight of the Angara-1.2 rocket in April 2022. The satellite appeared to be dead since separation from the AM upper stage and decayed from orbit on 17 May 2022. It is not clear if it was a failed satellite or only a mass model.

Both Kosmos 2551 and Kosmos 2555 are tentatively identified as EMKA due to the similarity of their orbits.

Nation: Russia
Type / Application:
Contractors: NPP VNIIEM (prime); OAO Peleng (imager)
Orbit: 315 km × 318 km, 96.64 (#1); 295 km × 307 km, 96.34 (#2); 279 km × 294 km, 96.44 (#3)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Kosmos 2525 (EMKA #1) 2018-028A 29.03.2018 Pl LC-43/4 Soyuz-2-1v
Kosmos 2551 (EMKA #2 ?) 2021-081A 09.09.2021 Pl LC-43/4 Soyuz-2-1v
Kosmos 2555 (EMKA #3 ?, MKA-R ?) 2022-044A 29.04.2022 Pl LC-35/1 Angara-1.2

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