Russian satellite Kosmos-2570 detached two military objects – US

Specialists from LeoLabs, an American firm, have drawn parallels between the Russian military satellite Kosmos-2570 and the well-known “Matryoshka” Russian nesting dolls in space. The satellite, similar to the nested doll, unveiled Object C on October 30, which later gave birth to a new entity identified as Object D on November 23. 

Intriguingly, this is not the first time such an event has been recorded by the satellite. Back in 2022, another object was ejected from the body of Cosmos-2565, dubbed Cosmos-2566, according to US observers. 

The American authorities have found it challenging to discern these separated objects from the Russian satellites. They’ve also remarked that their presence substantially hampers the operations of other satellites. 

What are Object C and Object D?

At this moment, the nature of both Object C and Object D remains undisclosed, even by Russian media outlets, including the Russian Space Web. Pertinent information from this Russian source indicates that the launch of Kosmos-2570 was transacted on October 27.

Based on the analysis of Russian experts, the satellite had onboard what’s known as a semi-classified payload, referred to as Lotos-S1 or 14F145. Russian Space Web stated that this was the eighth instance that this transpired within the Liana constellation, conducting electronic reconnaissance in space on behalf of the Russian military forces. 

Russian satellite Kosmos-2570 detached two military objects - US
Photo credit: Russian MoD

Interestingly, the conjectures from LeoLabs, who keep a keen eye on space, were accurate. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation confirmed this, not Roscosmos. They stated that the rocket successfully delivered “more than one spacecraft” into orbit following its launch.

Trajectory

On October 27, 2023, a rocket carrying a military satellite successfully launched from Pad 3 to Pad 43 in Plesetsk. The operation took off around 09:00 local Moscow time, which is 2 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time [EDT]. 

By analyzing data from previous Liana constellation launches as well as air traffic advisories, experts were able to predict the flight scenario for this mission accurately. After a brief period of vertical ascent, the rocket swiftly changed course toward the northeast, perfectly aligning its Earth trajectory with an orbit angled approximately 67.1 degrees to the equator. 

Russian satellite Kosmos-2570 detached two military objects - US
Photo credit: Russian Space Web

The rocket’s first phase saw the detachment of its four boosters, around two minutes into the flight. They fell about 350 kilometers away in a designated area known as the S15 fall zone. Immediately after this event, the payload cover was discarded, perhaps targeting the S16 drop zone located in the Komi Republic. Roughly five minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s main booster stopped working and separated. 

S18 fall zone

Just before the separation of the second stage, the third stage’s RD-0124 engine ignited through the interstage lattice structure. This structure was then immediately released along with the second stage. Roughly five seconds later, the rear end of the third stage broke off, dividing into three separate pieces. 

It was anticipated that both the tail segments and the second stage booster would fall within the S18 fall zone located in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region. After about nine minutes into the flight, the third stage finally ceased firing and deployed its payload into an initial orbit.

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