The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) reports on the maneuvering in space of the Russian military satellite Cosmos-2521. We must say that NORAD has long been observing the movements of this particular satellite from orbit to orbit. And periodically reports about them in their quarterly reports. However, the current message was dedicated to the creation of space forces in the United States at the end of August, as Trump solemnly announced.
It was stated that the States cannot passively observe how other countries are actively engaged in the militarization of outer space. In this connection, the American president foresees that “space is the next area of military operations.”
Here NORAD and pointed to the “Cosmos-2521” as one of the examples of “Russian militarization.” At the same time, it would be fair to point to the American ekranoplan X-37, which cannot be attributed to an instrument for the peaceful exploration of outer space.
So, what’s new to us from NORAD about the “treachery” of the Russian satellite, which was launched more than two years ago? At the beginning of this year, Cosmos-2521 made a maneuver, reducing its orbit from an altitude of 280 km to 227 km. But he soon rose to an altitude of 247 km. In August, the orbit again began to decline, and on August 30 the satellite was in orbit with an altitude of 230 km at perigee and 235 at its peak.
At the same time, NORAD emphasizes, the trajectory of the Russian military satellite is built so that during the day it passes at least ten times over the territories of the United States and Canada. However, this information is designed for people who are too impressionable – a satellite of this type, like Cosmos-2521, is not dangerous for ground objects. Its “battlefield” is outer space.
It should be said that the powerful NORAD organization, whose command post is located in a bunker inside Mount Cheyenne (Colorado), which has a network of ground-based radars and several satellite constellations, was not the first to record the uncharacteristic behavior of the Russian satellite. The first was a British expert on Russian and American space programs, Philip Clark.
In July 2017, the Soyuz-2.119 secret launch vehicle Cosmos-2519 was launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome with the Soyuz-2.1v launch vehicle with the Volga booster block. The satellite was launched into orbit with an apogee of 667 km, a perigee of 650 km and an inclination of 98 degrees. Since Roscosmos did not give any information about the purpose of this device, some sources identified it as a 14F150 “Voltage” geodetic satellite.
In October 2017, the Ministry of Defense opened the maps, saying that Cosmos-2519 is a platform designed to launch another satellite, Cosmos-2521, into orbit. The launch was qualified as a test run. It was supposed with the help of Cosmos-2521, which is the inspector satellite, to examine the carrier satellite, for which optical equipment is used.
And, indeed, in October, an “inspector” separated from the platform, which began to move relative to Cosmos-2519. However, the program did not end there. The satellite inspector began to make much more extensive movements.
Cosmos-2521 is not the first Russian inspector satellite. The first was Cosmos-2491. And its inspection work was discovered by accident. The dimensions of this satellite are so small that everyone mistook it for space debris. However, in 2013 it was discovered that this “garbage” behaves quite meaningfully, moving from orbit to orbit. He flew up to the spent booster block, to a pair of Russian satellites. It became clear that he was engaged in inspection, that is, he was studying objects using optical equipment. It is likely that he could carry out radio-technical reconnaissance, if his dimensions and mass allowed him to install an appropriate complex on it.
In Moscow, a woman was urgently hospitalized from the Eleon Hotel on Bakuninskaya Street after a night with a man.
However, with the help of a camera alone, one can obtain very valuable information by examining the enemy’s spacecraft. The fact is that since every extra kilogram launched into space is very expensive, there is no masking on the satellites. That is, there are no panels and overlays hiding secret equipment from prying eyes.
Russia has launched two more similar to Cosmos-2491 baby inspectors – Cosmos-2499 and Cosmos-2504.
These satellites, whose purpose was kept secret, moved closer to not only their satellites and booster blocks, but also to a pair of Chinese spacecraft. One inspector even “kissed” the accelerating block slightly, changing its trajectory either as a result of a control error, or it was planned according to the test scenario. Due to this, the Russian “babies” were called nothing more than “killer satellites”.
The weight of each device from this “trinity” does not exceed 50-60 kg. And at the same time, satellites for surprisingly long retained the ability of orbital maneuvering. There is a very real assumption that, along with the development of inspection functions, these devices tested engines for maneuvering a new type. We are talking about an ion engine, the principle of which is based on the creation of jet propulsion due to the ionization of gas, accelerated in an electric field to high speeds. Such engines are able to work for several years.
Cosmos-2521 is much more solid. This is due to the fact that in order to launch it and its platform, a separate Soyuz-2.1v rocket was needed (without additional loading by other satellites), capable of placing more than three tons of payload into a low reference orbit. That is, there is enough space on the new inspector to install a radio intelligence complex.
The tandem “Cosmos-2519” and “Cosmos-2521” may have strike weapons. It can be both an energy weapon and a kinetic one. A technology is also being developed for the compulsory capture of a satellite in order to remove it from orbit.
The United States, allegedly concerned about the development of the Russian military space program, was actually the first in the new century to develop a network of satellite inspectors. The first launches of such devices began in 2006, when two small-sized MiTEX inspector satellites equipped with optical equipment were launched to hunt for Russian secrets.
Since 2009, PAN satellites intended for electronic intelligence have gone into battle. And a year later – inspector satellites equipped with several different complexes that carry out a comprehensive survey of spacecraft. Whether they combine killer functions at the same time is not known. However, with the dimensions that they possess, it is quite possible.
And, finally, the unmanned X-37 V. unmanned rocket plane. Two vehicles were built that take turns to perform long, up to two years, flights with active maneuvering in orbit. The classified programs of these flights are compiled by the Air Force command, which operate rocket planes. Now they will be in charge of the space forces created at the end of August.
So we have to admit that in the field of space inspectors and killers, Russia is inferior to the United States. True, this can only be stated with respect to the number of specialized spacecraft. Nothing definite can be said about the qualitative correlation of forces, since this area is strictly secret.
China also has satellite inspectors. And while he breathes in the back of the head USA. This is predetermined by the fact that China has come out on top in the number of annual launches of launch vehicles. Russia slid to the third.