Nivelir (Kosmos-2519 et al): A new series of Russian military satellites

In 2017 Russia started launching a new series of satellites which performed proximity operations and released subsatellites. The satellites were launched by Soyuz-2-1v from Plesetsk.

These satellites appear to be follow-ons to those launched along with communications satellites on Rokot missions in 2013-2015 (Kosmos-2491, 2499, 2504).

The US government has suggested that the satellites represent tests of space weapons. Bart Hendrickx has suggested the satellites are part of the Nivelir program. Thanks to Bart for useful comments.


LaunchDate Satellite SSN Sat type Manufacturer/bus Chronology
Launch 12017 Jun 23 Kosmos-251942798 Parent platform Lavochikn 14F150 2017 Aug 23 Ejected 2521
2018 Jun 17-Jul 19 Lowered orbit
Kosmos-2521 42919 Inspector TsNIIKhM Nivelir 2017 Aug 23 Ejected from 2519
2017 Aug-Oct Close approaches to K-2519
2017 Oct 30 Ejected K-2523
2018 Mar-Apr Close approaches to K-2519
2019 Sep 12 Reentered
Kosmos-2523 42986 Projectile TsNIIKhM? 2017 Oct 30 Ejected from 2521 at 27m/s
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Launch 22019 Jul 10 Kosmos-2535 44421 Unknown? 2019 Aug-Sep? Debris released
Kosmos-2536 44424 Inspector? TsNIIKhM? 2019 Jul-Oct Rendezvous with 2535, servicing experiment
2019 Dec-2020 Jan More prox ops with 2535
Kosmos-2537 44422 Inert calib sat? NPTs KB RPS, KYuA? |
Kosmos-2538 44423 Inert calib sat? NPts KB RPS, KYuA? |
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Launch 32019 Nov 25 Kosmos-2542 44797 Parent platform Lavochkin 14F150 2020 Jan Orbit raise
2020 Jan-Mar Close approaches to USA 245
Kosmos-2543 44835 Inspector TsNIIKhM Nivelir 2019 Dec 6 Ejected from 2542
2019 Dec 6-9 Stationkeeping with 2542
2019 Dec-2020 Jan Some close passes with USA 245
2020 Jun Rendezvous with K-2535
2020 Jul 15 Ejected 2547?
Kosmos-2547?45915 Projectile TsNIIKm? 2020 Jul 15 Ejected from 2543 at 140-180m/s


Graphs showing close approaches between the objects