[FPSPACE] The mystery of Cosmos 1603
davida at cwo.com
Fri Jun 3 15:16:47 EDT 2005
On Sept 28, 1984, Cosmos 1603 was launched into a 51.6 degree orbit by a
Proton/DM 2 launch vehicle, and subsequently changed orbits to first a 66
degree and ultimately a 70 degree orbit. The spacecraft has since been
described as "Tselina", although no photo of the spacecraft in this partial
variant of the Tselina system has been published. Later Tselinas were
launched by the then-new Zenit launcher, directly to the 70 degree orbit.
The mystery is why the Proton required the intermediate orbits to reach 70
degrees? Was this a launch azimuth constraint, did someone want to test
multiple Block-D firings, or was it to test NORAD, since the reports of the
day indicated that NORAD "lost" Cosmos 1603.
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