Soyuz-2-1v launches classified payload

Russian military completed its orbital launch attempts in 2023 firing the Soyuz-2-1v rocket on December 27. The vehicle carried spacecraft for the Ministry of Defense. It was the 11th mission of the light-weight Soyuz variant since its introduction in 2013.


Soyuz-2-1v rocket mission on Dec. 27, 2023, at a glance:

Payload designation
Kosmos-2574, MKA-V
Launch date and time
2023 Dec. 27, 10:03:44 Moscow Time (07:03 UTC, 2:03 a.m. EST)
Launch vehicle
Launch site
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According to the official statement of the Russian Ministry of Defense a Soyuz-2-1v rocket lifted off on Dec. 27, 2023, at 10:03 Moscow Time, from Plesetsk carrying spacecraft for the Ministry of Defense.

Reports distributed by the state-controlled media also said that the spacecraft had been successfully inserted into its planned orbit and that it had been taken under control by ground assets of the Russian Air and Space Forces, VKS. The spacecraft maintained stable communications with ground control and its systems functioned nominally, according to the military. Roskosmos listed the payload delivered during the launch as Kosmos-2574.

Based on the notifications to the air and sea traffic issued by the Russian authorities ahead of the launch, it appeared that the rocket ascended along the usual ground track required to reach orbit with an inclination of 97 degrees toward the Equator.

The US Space Force then tracked the payload associated with the launch in a 348 by 361-kilometer orbit with an inclination 96.8 degrees toward the Equator. In the following months, the satellite was detected performing small orbital maneuvers.

In the meantime, Kosmos-2574 lowered its orbit between Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, 2024, by around two kilometers and made another small maneuver downward between Feb. 5 and Feb. 6, 2024:

Feb. 5, 2024
343.3 kilometers
349.5 kilometers
Feb. 6, 2024
342.6 kilometers
349.2 kilometer

Observers noted that the maneuvers of Kosmos-2574 put it into a proximity orbit just below Kosmos-2575 (launched on Feb. 9, 2024), allowing Kosmos-2574 to catch up with its apparent target on Feb. 21, 2024, and pass within around 26 kilometers from it:

338 kilometers
347 kilometers
348 kilometers
358 kilometer

Around Feb. 22, 2024, a small fragment separated from the satellite and quickly began losing altitude, indicating a low-density object. It reentered around March 5, 2024.

In the meantime, as Kosmos-2575's orbit slowly decayed, Kosmos-2574 maneuvered downward for another rendezvous with it on March 11 and March 12, 2024:

325 kilometers
338 kilometers
346 kilometers
356 kilometers

In the second half of May 2024, Kosmos-2574 performed a series of orbit adjustments counteracting its orbital decay. By the end of May 2024, it was in the 303 by 313-kilometer orbit with an inclination 96.73 degrees toward the Equator. In the meantime, Kosmos-2575 naturally descended to a 322 by 327-kilometer orbit with a similar inclination, making possible another close pass of the two satellites around June 7, 2024.



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Page author: Anatoly Zak; Last update: June 3, 2024

Page editor: Alain Chabot

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