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Russia launches military satellite Kosmos 2568

Spacecraft EMKA #4 took off from Plesetsk on a Soyuz 2.1v rocket

A Soyuz-2.1v rocket, launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, from platform 43/4., successfully launched another EMKA spacecraft of the Russian Ministry of Defense. The launch was at 22:57 UTC (18:57 EDT) on March 29, 2023, and after the spacecraft was confirmed in orbit of 295 x 307 km and inclination of 96.34°, the Russian Aerospace Forces designated its serial number Kosmos-2568.

EMKA-4 entered an orbit of 329 km at perigee and 345 km at apogee, with a period of 91.27 minutes and inclined at 96.46 degrees; the last stage of the rocket was dropped at 326 x 344 km, with a period of 91.23 min and an inclination of 96.47°.

“At the predetermined time, the spacecraft was launched into the target orbit and brought under control. A stable telemetry connection has been established and maintained with the spacecraft,” the ministry said. As specified, "onboard systems are functioning normally and experts have entered information about the satellite into the main catalog of space objects of the Russian space control system and have begun to analyze and process information about it."

In the reports, EMKA stands for eksperimental'nyy malyy sputnik – “small experimental satellite”, and serves as the basis for the “Earth remote sensing space complex”, used as an umbrella term for military photographic reconnaissance. EMKA is probably the same satellite mentioned in several VNIIEM articles in 2014–2015. One described it as an experimental 150 kg predecessor to the slightly larger 250 kg satellite (MKA-B), which can capture high-resolution images for civil and military purposes.

All prelaunch operations and rocket launch took place in normal mode. Ground crews from the Aerospace Forces monitored the launch and flight of the launch vehicle.


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