This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at www.astronautix.com

astronautix.com Yantar


Spacecraft: Yantar-1KF.

Survey reconnaissance satellite project worked on by Kozlov from 1967, succeeding Yantar-1. To be launched on Soyuz 11A511M launch vehicle. Yantar- 1KF test-construction work began in 1970, but was cancelled when the decision was taken not to proceed with the necessary launch vehicle. Never went into production. While it used systems from the Yantar-2K, it retained a re-entry vehicle of the Zenit type.


Spacecraft: Yantar-2K-M. Planned upgrade of Yantar-2K. Not put into production.

Spacecraft: Yantar-4K2.

Flight trials of the Yantar-2K indicated the satellite was not capable of providing strategic warning of attack. A meeting of the Council of Chief Designers at TsSKB in May 1977 reviewed alternative approaches. Three additional variants were to be developed, one of them the high resolution Yantar-4K. The project was to be implemented in two phases: the Yantar-4K1, launched by the existing Soyuz-U launch vehicle, and the Yantar-4K2, to be launched by the new more powerful Zenit launch vehicle.

Although using the basic Yantar-4K1 bus, the Yantar-4K2 would be launched by the Zenit launch vehicle, allowing the number of film return capsules to be increased to 22, and the duration in orbit to be increased to 120 to 180 days. Before the Yantar-4K2 could fly, the Soviet Union experienced financial problems, then dissolved completely. The booster for which it was designed was now built in a foreign country (the Ukraine), and the project was abandoned.


Spacecraft: Yantar-4KS2.

The Yantar-2K was not capable of providing strategic warning of attack. Therefore three additional variants were developed, one of them the detailed electro-optical and operational reconnaissance satellite Yantar-4KS. The draft project on completed on 1 July 1977 based on a May 1977 draft project designated Yantar-6KS. A resolution of the chief designers dated 1 July 1977 began work on the project; this was confirmed by decree # 7-3 of the Soviet Ministers and Communist Party Central Committee dated 4 January 1978. The spacecraft was designed to relay visual and infrared band images via a digital data link to the planned Potok-Luch GKRSS satellite system. There were two phases to the project plan. The first phase spacecraft, the Yantar-4KS1, would be launched by the Soyuz-U2 launch vehicle. Phase 2 would be the more capable Yantar-4KS2, launched by the more powerful Zenit launch vehicle, with flight trials to begin in 1983. The Yantar-4KS2 was required by the Ministry of Defence to have the same capabilities as the KH-11/Crystal reconnaissance satellite of the United States.

Development was slow because of the state of Soviet digital electronics technology. It was finally concluded that the capabilities of the KH-11 could not be duplicated in the basic Yantar satellite bus. Accordingly a resolution of 1 June 1983 terminated work on the Yantar-4KS2 and directed that an modernised Yantar-4KS1 be developed instead. The KH-11 requirement was taken up as the new Arkon-1 satellite.


Spacecraft: Yantar-6K.

Extremely high resolution version of Yantar studied in 1969. A draft project was completed in May 1977, but the decision was made to keep the basic Yantar-2K satellite bus instead., and the code name was subsequently applied to the resulting Orlets-1 reconnaissance satellite.


Spacecraft: Yantar-6KS.

Electro-optical imaging operational high resolution version of Yantar studied in 1969. A draft project was completed in May 1977, but the decision was made to keep the basic Yantar-2K satellite bus instead, resulting in the Yantar-4KS1 reconnaissance satellite.


Spacecraft: Yantar-2K.

Yantar was the Soviet Unionís second series of photo reconnaissance satellites, succeeding the Zenit series in the primary film reconnaissance role. Yantars were identified in the West as 'Fourth Generation Photo Reconnaissance Satellite'. In comparison with the Zenit series, the Yantar was equipped with manoeuvring engines to change the spacecraftís orbit, thereby providing more flexibility and surprise in photographing targets of interest. In common with the Zenit it was equipped with a large re-entry capsule which returned the camera and primary electronics for reuse. However it also had two small capsules for return of film before return of the main capsule. The design lifetime of Yantar was 30 days, as opposed to the 12 days of the Zenit. The SpK capsules would typically make interim film deliveries on the tenth and eighteenth days of flight.


Spacecraft: Yantar-3KF. Survey reconnaissance satellite system studied in 1969. Not put into production.

Spacecraft: Yantar-1KFT.

The Yantar-1KF system was intended to build up high precision maps based on information from the Zenit-4MT. However it became impossible to keep the spacecraft within the weight that the Soyuz-U launch vehicle could lift. It would require a Proton or Zenit vehicle. Therefore the spacecraft was cancelled.

A complete design revision beginning in 1973 led to a production verion of the Yantar photo satellite for topographic mapping for the Army General Staff. The Yantar-1KFT is equipped with the TK-350 topographic camera, which has a focal length of 350 mm, with photo negative size of 300 x 450 mm, covering an area of 200 x 300 km with a resolution of 10 m and a scale of 1:660,000. The camera is designed for exceptional geometric precision for cartographic purposes and each image overlaps the next by 60% to 80% to allow stereoscopic pairs to be made. Closeup images are made by the KVR-1000 camera with a focal length of 1000 mm, a negative size of 180 x 180 mm covering an area of 40 km x 40 km at 1:50,000 scale and 2 m resolution. Western description: Fourth generation topographic. Typical orbital profile: inclination 64.9 degrees with an altitude of 207-270 km. Designed duration: 40 days. First flight: Cosmos 1246. Last flight: Cosmos 2284. Transmission frequencies observed in West: 150.3 PCM-FM; 400.8 CW.


Spacecraft: Yantar-4K1.

Flight trials of the Yantar-2K indicated the satellite was not capable of providing strategic warning of attack. A meeting of the Council of Chief Designers at TsSKB in May 1977 reviewed alternative approaches. Three additional variants were to be developed, one of them the high resolution Yantar-4K. The project was to be implemented in two phases: the Yantar-4K1, launched by the existing Soyuz-U launch vehicle, and the Yantar-4K2, to be launched by the new more powerful Zenit launch vehicle.

The Yantar-4K1 would increase the satelliteís operational lifetime by 50%, to 45 days, and have an improved camera system, the PO Krasnogorskiy Zavodís Zhemchug-18. These changes were relatively minor. Externally the spacecraft were difficult to distinguish, and the masses were essentially the same. Therefore the same Soyuz 11A511U rocket and 11S516 payload fairing could be used for the Yantar-4K1.

The project went smoothly and rapidly. The first flight model was ready only two years later. The first launch in the flight trials was in April 1979, for 30 days. A second full-duration flight a year later was also successful, leading to the acceptance test flight in October 1980, also without problem. Yantar-4K1 was accepted into service in 1982 with the code name Oktan. Due to capacity problems as TsKB in Samara, production was handed over to KB Arsenal from 1984.

The Yantar-4K1 ultimately replaced the Zenit reconnaissance satellite series, with the final military flight of the Zenit in October 1980. Zenit civilian models continued in use after the retirement of the Yantar-4K1 (Oblik, Resurs F-1 and F-2). From 1984 Yantar-4K1 was flown for durations of up to 60 days. Launches continued into 1999. Typical orbital profile was: inclination 64.9, 67.1, or 70 degrees with altitude of 170-340 km. Transmission frequency observed in the West was 240.5 PCM-FM.


Spacecraft: Yantar-4KS1.

The Yantar-2K was not capable of providing strategic warning of attack. Therefore three additional variants were developed, one of them the detailed electro-optical and operational reconnaissance satellite Yantar-4KS. A resolution of the chief designers dated 1 July 1977 began work on the project; this was confirmed by decree # 7-3 of the Soviet Ministers and Communist Party Central Committee dated 4 January 1978. The spacecraft was designed to relay visual and infrared band images via a digital data link to the planned Potok-Luch GKRSS satellite system.


Spacecraft: Orlets-2.

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.


Spacecraft: Orlets-1.

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 new, 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; flight trials began in 1989 and system did not go into service until the 1990's. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, the satellite had to be switched to the less-capable Soyuz-U launch vehicle and the flight duration was extended to 100 to 120 days (presumably at the expense of fewer return capsules). As in the case of other Yantars, after returning multiple film capsules, the spacecraft is deorbited. Typical orbital profile was an inclination 64.9 degrees with an altitude of 207-323 km. Only six were flown between the first flight Cosmos 2031 (1989) and the latest (Cosmos 2343, 1997).


Back to Index
Last update 28 March 2001.
Contact Mark Wade with any corrections or comments.
Conditions for use of drawings, pictures, or other materials from this site..
© Mark Wade, 2001 .