Friday, September 15, 2006

Russia and China have launched milsats

I have received two notices regarding the launch of military satellites from Russia and China.

Russia has launched a Don Class (Yantar-6K/ FR6)/Orlets-1, close look and survey photo recon designated Kosmos 2423. It was launched 14 Sep 2006, at 1341 UTC on a Soyuz-U rocket from Baykonur LC31. Kosmos 2423 carries an international designator of 2006-39A and a SSC number of 24902. The satellite is equipped with a panoramic camera and equipped with eight film return capsules. The satellite was launched into a 317 x 170 km, 64.9 deg inclination orbit. Further orbit maneuvers to raise the perigee of this satellite are expected in the next few days.

China has launched Zhongxing-22A, a communications satellite on a Long March 3A rocket on 12 Sep 2006, at 1602 UTC. The satellite was launched into a 41817 x 202 km, 25 deg transfer orbit. The satellite carries an international designator of 2006-038A and an SSC number of 29398.

This satellite will replace the Zhongxing-22 satellite in orbit at 98 deg east. It has been reported that this series of satellite carries a military communications capability, but we have no specific details on where in the spectrum that package transmits. The Chinaview news service carried the following on the launch:

" Zhongxing-22A, an earth-synchronous telecommunications satellite is designed by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology under the China Aerospace Technology Group Company.

" The satellite has been designed to work for eight years, for the owner - the China Telecommunication Broadcast Satellite Company under the China Telecommunications Satellite Group Company.

" According to some experts, once the satellite shifts its track, it will be fixed above the Equator, at 98 degrees east longitude, under the guidance of the Xi'an center and ocean-going space measuring vessels. Afterwards, it will be handed over to the owner."