ORLETS Space System
In the late seventies TsSKB in cooperation with other organizations developed the observation spacecraft of essentially new type called Orlets. Development of this imaging system was one of the most complicated as a high-speed panoramic camera, a compact descent capsule ensuring landing accuracy, was created in the course of it. For activities with a great number of descent capsules, loading them with rolls of exposed films, their preparation and separation from a spacecraft, the automatic robotic system called ‘capsular module’ was created. The first launch of the Orlets SC took place on July 18, 1989. On August 25, 1992, the system was put into operation in accordance with the resolution of the Russian President. In total, eight such spacecraft were injected into orbit. Their service lifetime was 58-60 days, but two last spacecraft worked in orbit for 102 and 120 days, respectively.*
Development of automated remote sensing spacecraft laid the groundwork for growth of spacecraft engineering for the purposes of scientific research and national economic development.*
* The article was written based on the materials taken from book - Spacecraft building:research and development by JSC SRC «Progress» / edited by A.N.Kirilin- Samara: Publishing House, AGNI, 2011-p.280.