Say Cheese! Russia Snaps Photos of Top Secret US Spysats

Titov Space Control Centre

Washington has become extremely paranoid about a series of rare images of its Lacrosse spy satellites (# 2,3,4 and 5), which were recently released by Russia.

The US is trying to find a reason why Russia has disclosed its images of secret Lacrosse US spy satellites.

It is busy guessing what the actual reason behind the disclosure is; while it continues to think it might be a way for Russia to challenge what the US sees as its “space advantage”, a more likely answer comes from Germany: it’s simply a way “to show that Moscow is aware”.

Altai optical-laser center
Altai optical-laser center

Former CIA analyst Allen Thomson has compiled and analyzed the shots captured by Russia’s Altay Optical Laser center somewhat between 2005 and 2010.

The existence of the Lacrosse terrestrial radar imaging reconnaissance satellites, operated by the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), was not officially confirmed for a long time, its existence was declassified only in 2008.

Lacrosse satellites use synthetic aperture radar as their prime imaging instrument. It is able to see through cloud cover and its gaze also has some ability to penetrate soil.

The name Lacrosse is used to refer to all of these orbital spycraft, while there is another name, Onyx, which is sometimes used to refer to the three newer units.

Five Lacrosse spacecraft have been launched, and three are currently in orbit.

US spy satellite
US spy satellite

“The [released] images contain enough information (range, angular scale) to perform a bit of technical intelligence (i.e., sophomore high school trigonometry) on the radar antenna size, which is a significant parameter affecting capability,” Thomson said, as quoted by the US media.

“Why did the Russians release the images?  The US is highly paranoid about releasing resolved images of spysats, ours or others. The Russian paranoia is at least as great, so how did these images get out? What was the purpose?” Thomson questions.

“The images themselves seem to be mostly just a curiosity,” he supposed. “But perhaps they underscore the growing visibility and the corresponding vulnerability of US space-based assets.”

Then Thomson however supposed that it might be a way “to respond to our [their] space advantage”, citing Gil Klinger, a defense intelligence official, who testified at a 2014 House Armed Services Committee hearing on US national security space activities.

Klinger then said that the US asymmetrical advantage in space “also creates asymmetrical vulnerabilities”.

The answer came from the German news site Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, which supposed that it is a way to show that “Moscow always knows what the US is up to”.


Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces launched 33 satellites last year – Defense Ministry

January 03, MOSCOW

MOSCOW, January 3. /TASS/. Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces launched 33 satellites from the space centers in Plesetsk in north Russia and Baikonur in Kazakhstan last year, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said on Saturday.

“Specialists of the Aerospace Defense Forces made launches of 33 space vehicles of various designation from the Plesetsk and Baikonur space centers in 2014, of which 9 space vehicles were placed under control of the Titov Main Space Testing Center of the Aerospace Defense Forces’ Space Command,” the spokesman said.

Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces are currently carrying out 20 design and experimental projects to develop new types and models of technical facilities for space system measurement and control, he said.

These efforts include the development of a unified command and measurement system for control of new-generation space vehicles, a promising system of telemetric data receipt and processing and the improvement of the ground-based system of control of the GLONASS satellite grouping, the spokesman said.

Strela Rocket With Kondor-E Satellite Blasts Off from Baikonur:Space Agency

Stiletto (SS-19) ABM launch

The country’s space agency Roscosmos reported that Russia’s Strela carrier rocket lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome with a Kondor-E radar imaging satellite.

MOSCOW, December 19 (Sputnik) — Russia’s Strela carrier rocket blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome with a Kondor-E radar imaging satellite, the country’s space agency Roscosmos told RIA Novosti Friday.


On Thursday, the satellite launch was postponed until Friday due to technical reasons.Kondor is a family of light-class earth imaging satellites developed by rocket design bureau NPO Mashinostroyeniya for the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces. Kondor-E is an export version of the satellite.

The spacecraft carries a radar imaging equipment to monitor Earth and ocean surfaces. Satellite imagery can be used for ecological monitoring and to manage natural resources.

Russia’s Proton Places Telecommunications Satellite into Orbit


The Briz-M upper stage and Yamal-401 telecommunications satellite separated from the Proton-M carrier rocket, which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This information was presented by the press service of the Russian Space Agency.

“The spacecraft was put into orbit at 12:17 Moscow time,” the press center of the Federal Space Agency reported.

It should be noted that the Yamal-401 satellite designed and built by ISS Reshetnev Company for the Russian operator Gazprom Space Systems is capable of relaying continuously signals in Europe and Asia. The satellite is fitted with 53 transponders and six antennas in C/Ku-bands. The Yamal-401 is the third spacecraft created on the basis of the heavy-class Express-2000 platform. The weight of the satellite is 2,976 kilograms, the power used to carry a payload is 11 kW, and the life span is 15 years.

Media: The West suspects that Russia launched into space the “SATELLITE DESTROYER”

20/11/2014 ITAR-TASS

An object that experts firstly  recognize as space garbage, makes the movements  relatively of Russian spacecrafts

LONDON, November 18. / Corr. TASS Alan BUD /. Western space agencies are monitoring the object launched into orbit  by Russian rocket, suspecting that it is a ” satellite destroyer.”

The newspaper Financial Times  informs about it..

“Western space agencies are monitoring the mysterious object launched by the Russian military, which inspires fear of the revival of a discontinued program of  Kremlin to destroy satellites,” – the newspaper writes. According to it, North American Aerospace Defense Command – Joint structure of USA and Canada – assign to objects 2014-28E their own digital name – 39765.

“Whatever was the subject, it looks like something experimental – evaluation of  object 2014-28E  by  expert in space security of the British Royal Institute of International Affairs, Patricia Lewis. – It may have several functions, both civilian and military. Perhaps he equipped with a manipulator for gripping objects or weapons  of kinetic action. and maybe we are talking about cyber attacks from one satellite to another, or against jamming signals, “- said the expert.

The newspaper reminds that in 2007, China launched a missile which successfully destroyed the Chinese satellite, in 2008, the same test  USA conducted.  “Russia in the past has been one of the main proponents of an international treaty on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in space, but its efforts have not yielded results,” – the British newspaper sais.

The newspaper  cites the opinion of an unnamed Russian military expert, that “with the rapid progress of other countries and the recent deterioration of relations between Moscow and the West, the revival of the program (” The satellites destroyer “) might make sense.”

May 23 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome  it was launched a carrier rocket “Rokot” with three military satellites. All three devices were successfully inserted into the target orbit. The names of the satellites and their characteristics were not reported.

“Incident” with the Russian military satellite over the US

May 6  it was learned about the launch from Plesetsk of the  rocket “Soyuz-2.1a”  with  military satellite. Spacecraft that gets the sequence number “Kosmos-2495”, was successfully launched into orbit.

In mid-September, a strategic command of the armed forces of the United States stated that the satellite exploded over the territory of America. The troops Aerospace Defense (ASD) have refuted this statement, calling the Washington  “another attempt to find out the whereabouts of the lost Russian space object.”

The representative of Russian  troops  of  VKO (ESD) Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin  stressed that the main center of control of space situation leads global monitoring not only of Russian satellites, but all space objects of artificial origin, including foreign, at altitudes from 120  to 40 thousand  Km, with constant refinement information about them. “And not” high confidence “as a strategic command of the armed forces of the United States, but  in fact and  in real time” – said the military.

Dnepr rocket orbits five satellites

The rocket was launched from the Yasny space site

© ISC Kosmotras
MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. The Dnepr space rocket carrying the ASNARO satellite and four microsatellites blasted off from the Yasny space site in the Orenburg region on Thursday morning, the Kosmotrans company said.“All space satellites were put into the designated orbits,” the company’s spokesman said.

Defense Ministry spokesman for the Strategic Missile Force, Colonel Igor Yegorov, said that the launch under a military missile conversion program took place at 10:35 Moscow time.

“With this launch the Strategic Missile Force confirmed effectiveness of training and smooth and concerted performance of the launch personnel and tested the reliability of the strategic missile force measurement complex, which is currently in the process of fundamental upgrade,” Yegorov said.

Dnepr is a three-stage liquid propellant rocket. Its first and second stages are standard stages of the inter-continental ballistic rocket RS-20 (SS-18 Satan). The Kosmotrans company is responsible for converting the RS-20B rockets, originally developed in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, into the Dnepr space rocket. It is launched either from the Baikonur space site in Kazakhstan or from the Yasny space facility – a position of the Dombarovsky unit of the strategic missile force.

“Cosmos” docking history

КРЭТ's photo.
KRET,  28.10.2014

October 30, 1967 for the first time in space  it was made ​​automatic docking of ships.

It was the Soviet apparatus of  “Cosmos” series – “Cosmos-186” and “Cosmos-188” is a prototype spaceship “Soyuz”.

By the way, the technique for satellites “Cosmos” series was produced from 1962  on  Ufa instrument production association, now part KRET