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Orlets-2 (Yenisey, 17F113)

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)
Operator: GRU
Propulsion: 17D62
Lifetime: 180 days
Mass: ~10500 kg
Orbit: 203 km × 322 km, 64.81 (#1); 210 km × 335 km, 64.78 (#2)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Kosmos 2290 (Orlets-2 #1, Yenisey #1) 1994-053A 26.08.1994 Ba LC-45/1 Zenit-2
Kosmos 2372 (Orlets-2 #2, Yenisey #2) 2000-056A 25.09.2000 Ba LC-45/1 Zenit-2

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