Russia recently launched its second Lotos-S satellite into orbit on Thursday. The satellite is part of the country’s Liana program, which is designed to enhance its electronic signals intelligence capabilities.
The Lotos-S satellites are stripped-down versions of the Lotos design, intended to allow in-orbit testing and provide an initial operational capacity ahead of fully operational satellites being deployed.
Kosmos 2455, the first Lotos-S satellite, was deployed by a Soyuz-U carrier rocket from Plesetsk in November 2009. One of the spacecraft’s instrument panels or antennae was reported to have not deployed properly at first, however by the end of November this had rectified. Subsequently there were unconfirmed reports that the spacecraft had ceased to function in late 2011.
The Lotos-S satellite, weighs 6,000kg, is powered by solar panels and has four deployable instrument clusters at one end of the satellite, NASASpaceflight.com reported.
The satellite will operate in a low Earth orbit. It can intercept radio communications around the world, which could be used to locate and target military installations and vehicles of potential enemies, SEN reported.
The Liana programme includes another satellite, called Pion-NKS, which is scheduled to be launched next year. The radar-carrying Pion-NKS satellite could be used by the Russian Navy to locate and target enemy ships, reported by Sen.