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Kosmos 2542, 2543

The Russian Kosmos 2542 and 2543 satellites are military satellites of unknown purpose.

The purpose of the satellites is kept classified.

After launch, only one payload appeared, Kosmos 2542. Likely it is of the 14F150 type like Kosmos 2519. This one is suspected to be a satellite inspector payload, as it synchronized its orbit with that of the US reconnaisance satellite KH-11 16 (Crystal 16, USA 245) and is following maneuveres of the US satellite.

After some time in orbit, a smaller subsatellite, Kosmos 2543, was deployed. It appears to be related to earlier inspector satellites ("Sputnik Inspektor") like Kosmos 2521. Both satellites share the same 368 km × 858 km × 97.9 orbits and remain within about 10 km of each other. When KH-11 16 raised its orbit, both Kosmos satellites accordingly followed soon after, providing close passes of a few dozen kilometers distance. Later in May 2020, Kosmos 2543 adjusted its orbit to fly in formation with Kosmos 2535.

In July 2020, an object seperated from Kosmos 2543. This might be similar to Kosmos 2521. According to US officials, this object displayed characteristics of a space-based anti-satellite weapon.

These satellites were launched on 25 November 2019 on a Soyuz-2-1v Volga rocket from Plesetsk.

Nation: Russia
Type / Application: ?
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
? 2019-079E 25.11.2019 Pl LC-43/4 Soyuz-2-1v Volga with Kosmos 2542, Kosmos 2543 (Nivelir #6 ?)

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