23 June 2017 of the year at the Plesetsk cosmodrome took place the next launch of a launch vehicle with a payload ordered by the Russian military. From the 43 / 4 platform, the Soyuz-2.1в rocket took off with the Volga upper stage. The mission of the rocket was to put a spacecraft into orbit under the official name Cosmos-2519 (international identifier 2017-037A). Until a certain time, information about the goals and objectives of this product were not reported. Information of this nature was published only a few weeks after launch.
Before the official reports on the tasks of the new apparatus, various assessments and forecasts were made. Thus, in some sources, the Cosmos-2519 product was identified as a geodetic satellite of the “Voltage” type 14Ф150, capable of measuring the earth's surface and making accurate maps of different regions. According to well-known estimates, the information collected can be used in various fields, including the preparation of flight missions for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Exactly two months after launch, the Russian Ministry of Defense spoke about the current tasks of Cosmos-2519, and also announced the goals and objectives of this device. The press service of the military department reported that on August 23 a small-sized satellite-inspector separated from the spacecraft. The first task of the latter was to study the state of the domestic spacecraft. The essence of the planned experiment was a visual study of the satellite carrier with the help of standard tools of the inspector.
According to the data of late August, published by foreign sources, the satellite-inspector dropped by the Kosmos-2519 platform was in orbit with an inclination of 97,92 ° with an apogee height of 667 km and a perigee of 650 km. The orbit parameters of this product almost completely coincided with the characteristics of a larger carrier vehicle. Being in close proximity to the “Cosmos-2519”, the satellite-inspector, using his onboard devices, could “inspect” it and transmit the collected data to the control center.
According to the latest data, the payload of the device, launched in June, has now passed the necessary checks and tests. This October 26 reported the publication of "News", has received new information from unnamed sources. According to the newspaper, in the course of recent events, the work of both the spacecraft and the associated ground equipment was checked. In addition, the features of new algorithms, etc. were investigated.
Izvestia writes about the successful completion of tests of a new maneuvering inspector satellite that can monitor and study other spacecraft. During the test program, the satellite itself was tested. In addition, orbital and ground communications, as well as advanced software for various purposes, passed the required testing. Testing in practice have passed new methods of ballistic calculations.
The tests confirmed the possibility of performing a number of tasks directly related to the preparation for work and the inspection of outer space. Thus, the satellite with the observation equipment in the automatic mode separated from the carrier, after which it switched to remote control from the Earth. Commanded by the operators of the device used all the onboard equipment, including surveillance equipment. Further, the information gathered by radio was sent to the control center, where it was processed.
Apparently, now the satellite-inspector launched with the help of the Cosmos-2519 platform will remain in a given orbit and wait for new operator commands. If necessary, he will be able to change the trajectory and go to a given area for the inspection, consisting in the search and monitoring of other spacecraft. The Russian military may have announced only part of the latest development, which leads to understandable consequences. For example, there are versions of the real capabilities of the satellite, which are not yet subject to disclosure.
According to officially published data, the payload of the Kosmos-2519 apparatus, launched into mid-summer orbit, is a satellite-inspector, capable of tracking other objects in outer space. Other information about it has not yet been announced. Nevertheless, the available information allows us to make an approximate picture, as well as to make some assumptions. Moreover, quite a long time ago, since the announcement of the mission of a new satellite, the most courageous forecasts have been expressed, including its combat capabilities.
Apparently, the new satellite-inspector, whose name is still unknown, is a platform with a set of optical-electronic and, possibly, other surveillance systems. Commanded from the earth, the device must go into orbit with the given parameters, which allows it to approach other satellites. Approaching at a sufficient distance, the inspector will be able to “inspect” the assigned target and transfer its images to Earth, where the necessary analysis will be carried out.
Based on the considerations of mass reduction, the creators of the spacecraft do not use any special disguise. Because of this, even the appearance of the satellite is able to give its purpose. In this case, the inspection of the space object by the onboard facilities of the satellite inspector turns out to be a rather simple, but very effective method of conducting reconnaissance. With it, aerospace forces will be able not only to track the equipment of a potential enemy, but also to determine its purpose. What is important, the visual study significantly increases the likelihood of correct recognition of the object's objectives.
It should be noted that in the context of the launch of Cosmos-2519, the boldest assumptions have already been made. According to a number of specialists and mass media, the satellite-inspector - at least in theory - is able not only to monitor other equipment, but also to attack it. Officials did not comment on the assumption of the presence of weapons on the inspector, but the principal possibility of this still exists.
Equipping a spacecraft not only with means of observation, but also with weapons allows you to dramatically expand the range of tasks. In this case, the conditional satellite can not only reach the specified orbit and inspect the designated object, but also, if necessary, attack it. Thus, the inspector ceases to be only a scout and assumes the functions of an interceptor.
For obvious reasons, the Russian Ministry of Defense does not comment on the assumptions and predictions regarding the possible presence of a combat load on the inspector. If it is provided for by the original project, the fact of its use is not yet subject to disclosure. However, the silence of the military on this subject may be due to the lack of weapons or unwillingness to disclose any technical details of the program.
It is curious that a spacecraft launched into orbit using the Cosmos-2519 platform may not be the first product of its kind. The program of creating satellite-inspectors and space interceptors was launched in the seventies and was implemented until the early nineties, but did not lead to the desired results. New successes in this area appeared only a few years ago, but this time there is no exact information due to the general secrecy of the space direction.
In May 2014, the Rokot carrier rocket with the Briz-KM upper stage sent the Kosmos-2499 spacecraft into orbit. Officials did not name the goals and objectives of this launch, but soon very interesting information appeared in the press and on specialized resources. It was found that during his flight, the new Russian satellite was actively maneuvering, and was also moving closer to the spent upper stage. The latter fact has led to the assumption that Cosmos-2499 is a satellite-inspector.
At the end of March, the 2015 of the year, with the help of the Rokot rocket, several communications satellites and the Kosmos-2504 spacecraft were launched into different orbits. Soon it was noticed that over the next few months, the latter performed a series of maneuvers and repeatedly approached the last stage of the launch vehicle remaining in space. In addition, an increase in the height of the orbit was recorded. According to the United States Air Force, the request to the Russian Department of Defense with a request to reveal the mission of the satellite remained unanswered.
Thus, in the last few years alone, including the 2017 of the year, at least three military spacecraft spacecraft with special capabilities were launched into orbit. According to available information, three satellites are capable of vigorous maneuvering and relatively quickly changing their orbit. Such opportunities can be used to solve various problems related to intelligence or interception. The appearance and commissioning of equipment with such functions naturally became the reason for the interest and fear of foreign specialists.
Of the three maneuvering spacecraft launched in recent years, only one was officially announced as a satellite-inspector. The real purpose of the other two, despite the available information and various assessments, remains a mystery. However, this does not stop professionals and the general public. There are a variety of assumptions, similar to the ideas of the presence of weapons and the consequences of their use.
As follows from the official data, the main task of the Kosmos-2519 payload is a visual inspection of specified space objects in different orbits. This feature enhances the potential of the space group in studying the material part of a potential enemy, and can also be used to combat potential threats. Even in the absence of its own weapons, such an inspector is of great interest to the armed forces.
It should be recalled that work on the creation of reconnaissance and anti-satellite weapons is carried out not only in our country. It is known about the similar projects developed in the USA and China. According to various sources, both of these countries have so far managed to put into orbit and test a certain number of satellite inspectors. In addition, according to foreign press reports, China was already able to test its anti-satellite weapon and hit a conventional target.
In order to develop the space grouping, the domestic defense industry created and sent a satellite-inspector into orbit capable of collecting data on other spacecraft. About the real purpose of this product became known only a few months after launch, and it is quite possible that in the future new details will be known. What other surprise was prepared by the industry and the military department - it will be found out later.
On the materials of the sites: