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Orlets-1 (Don, 17F12)

Orlets-1 or Don was an soviet (later Russian) film return reconnaissance satellite, which featured 8 small capsules to return the film.

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. At the end of the mission, the main satellite was detonated in orbit and was not recovered. Later flights used the Soyuz-U launch vehicle, when the Soyuz-U2 was no longer available.

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.

Nation: USSR / Russia
Type / Application: Reconnaissance, photo (film return)
Operator: GRU
Lifetime: 60 days
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Kosmos 2031 (Orlets-1 #1, Don #1) 1989-056A 18.07.1989 Ba LC-1/5 Soyuz-U
Kosmos 2101 (Orlets-1 #2, Don #2) 1990-087A 01.10.1990 Ba LC-1/5 Soyuz-U2
Kosmos 2163 (Orlets-1 #3, Don #3) 1991-071A 09.10.1991 Ba LC-1/5 Soyuz-U2
Kosmos 2225 (Orlets-1 #4, Don #4) 1992-091A 22.12.1992 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-U
Kosmos 2262 (Orlets-1 #5, Don #5) 1993-057A 07.09.1993 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-U2
Kosmos 2343 (Orlets-1 #6, Don #6) 1997-024A 15.05.1997 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-U
Kosmos 2399 (Orlets-1 #7, Don #7) 2003-035A 12.08.2003 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-U
Kosmos 2423 (Orlets-1 #8, Don #8) 2006-039A 14.09.2006 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-U

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