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Russia VKS launches Kosmos 2556

'Bars-M' type satellite has a military application, launched from Northern Spaceport of Russian Federation

Soyuz 2.1a launched Kosmos 2556 military application payload at Plesetsk Cosmodrome (Credit:

Moscow, May 19, 2022, At UTC ( EDT) on May 19, 2022. The launch of satellite 14F 148 Bars-M No. 603 was carried out from Launch Pad PU-3 of Launch Complex LC43 of Cosmodrome GIK-1 Plesetsk by rocket 14A14-1A Soyuz-2.1a. The new satellite received the designation Kosmos 2556., “The spacecraft of the Ministry of Defense of Russia by the Combat Team of the Space Forces of the State Test Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation was launched into the target orbit at the predetermined time and controlled by telemetry by the Main Space Test Center in honor of the Space Forces GS Titov of the Aerospace Forces,” the ministry said.

14F148 Bars-M is a reconnaissance satellite that maps the ground for the Russian Ministry of Defense. High-resolution spatial images from Bars-M are used to update military topo maps. The new architecture of the Bars-M satellite featured three main components:

  • Payload Module, MTsA (from Russian Modul Tselevoy Apparatury);

  • Service Module, MSS (from Modul Sluzhebnykh Sistem);

  • Propulsion System, SVIT (from Sistema Vydachi Impulsa Tyag);

The cargo bay is an independent module with custom structural systems so that it can be manufactured separately from other spacecraft components and integrated at the end of the manufacturing process.

Given the satellite's ability to capture the Earth's surface with high spatial resolution, it is assumed that it is also used as a spy satellite, that is, for optical reconnaissance.