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Default Soyuz-2.1a launch with Kosmos-2504 (Bars-M), February 27, 2015
by Galactic Penguin SST 02-28-2015, 09:11 AM

Continuing a quick streak of busy activities not seen for many years, Russian northern spaceport Plesetsk Cosmodrome has sent off yet another brand new reconnaissance satellite yesterday at 11:01 UTC on board a Soyuz-2.1a rocket from pad 43/4. 10 minutes later the satellite was deployed into a polar orbit in which it would move to its operational orbit about 500 km high.

While the Russians aren't keen to share the details, sources reported that it is a brand new cartography-use optical spysat code named "Bars-M" (Leopard-M). In development since at least a decade ago and years behind schedule, Bars-M will replace the older generation of film-return regional coverage spysats that has last flew 10 years ago as the Russian military and government's new medium-resolution optical reconnaissance satellite tinkered for mapping use, a vital function for pinpointing the locations of targets of interest. The spacecraft uses a new satellite bus from the Samara Space Center (builder of the Soyuz rocket and many Russian military/civilian Earth observation satellites) and optical systems from the famous LOMO.

According to reports Plesetsk Cosmodrome will see up to 10 Soyuz rocket launches this year - none of them known to be carrying civilian passengers. It would be interesting to see what the secret Russians still have up in their sleeves!

NASASpaceflight.com: Soyuz 2-1A launches Russian Bars-M spy satellite

SEN.com: Russia launches Bars-M1 classified military satellite

Last edited by Galactic Penguin SST; 02-28-2015 at 09:46 AM.
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