Russian “zombie’ satellite” descended from orbit

The American company LeoLabs presented its report on the tracking of the Russian satellite Resurs-P. It was nicknamed “zombie” due to the fact that it was considered non-functional for a long time, but last year it changed its orbit and got closer to another device — Cosmos-2562.

Zombie’ satellite Resurs-P. Source: LeoLabs

How the Russian satellite became a “zombie”

The American company LeoLabs, specializing in tracking various spacecraft and debris in orbit, spoke about the results of monitoring two Russian satellites: Resurs-P3 and Cosmos-2562. 

The third satellite of the Resurs-P series was launched in 2016. Its purpose is to observe the Earth’s surface. However, engineers considered it non-functional because, after putting it into orbit, one of its solar panels did not unfold. And since then, it has not performed any maneuvers for several years.

Therefore, LeoLabs specialists were very surprised when, on November 11, 2022, it suddenly “came to life”, changed its orbit, and approached another Russian spacecraft, Cosmos-2562. This was why it was nicknamed the “zombie’ satellite”.

Satellite monitoring system tests

Cosmos-2562 is also a very interesting spacecraft. This is a military satellite. It was put into orbit in October 2022. Its purpose is secret, but experts are sure that it is a so-called “satellite inspector”. It is able to approach satellites belonging to both Russia and other countries and carry out their visual inspection. 

It can assess the technical condition of spacecraft, but the most valuable is the information that is transmitted through laser communication systems. Of course, it is encrypted, but the optical sensors of the “inspector satellite” are able to determine at least the frequency at which the transmitter operates.

After the rendezvous, both satellites flew together. However, on October 10, 2023, Resurs-P performed a new maneuver and, according to experts, descended from orbit. Cosmos-2562 continued to move on, but LeoLabs is confident that it will soon burn up in the atmosphere.

However, the company’s representatives are still concerned. Russia has been conducting experiments on the rapprochement of spacecraft in orbit for many years. They are clearly looking for a way to learn more about Western satellites than they should know. In addition, it is possible that some of the satellites may eventually have weapons.

According to

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