|Yantar multi-return - Yantar bus reconnaissance satellite with multiple re-entry capsules. This is believed to be layout of Orlets-1. Orlets-2 must have a considerably extended bus to accomodate even more capsules.|
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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. This featured a panoramic camera and drew on features of an existing draft project designated Yantar-6K. The redesigned spacecraft would be 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) would be launched by the much more powerful Zenit launch vehicle, be equipped with 22 return capsules, and have a 180 day design life. The draft project was completed in the late 1980's; Orlets-2 mass mock-ups were used on two Zenit test flights in 1986 and 1987. The manufacturer of the Zenit launch vehicle was in the Ukraine. After the break-up of the Soviet Union this was clearly an undesirable source for launch vehicles for strategically important spacecraft. Furthermore funds dried up. Consequently only a single Orlets-2 flew, as Cosmos 2290 in 1994.
Total Mass: 14,000 kg.
Flight trials of the Yantar-2K indicated the satellite was not capable of providing strategic warning of attack. The planned Yantar-6K series, in development since 1969, were overweight and behind schedule. A meeting of the Council of Chief Designers at TsSKB reviewed alternative approaches. It was decided that three variants of the Yantar-2K were to be developed, one of them the high resolution Yantar-4K.
Mass model of Orlets-2 reconnaissance satellite.
Launch vehicle test. Mass model of Orlets-2 reconnaissance satellite.
Only flight of Orlets-2 long-duration military reconnaissance satellite with 22 film-return capsules.
Reported code name Yenisey. It is speculated that this is an improved version of the Orlets satellite launched as Cosmos 2290 in 1994.