Kosmos 459 was placed into a low Earth orbit with a perigee of 199 kilometres (124 mi), an apogee of 286 kilometres (178 mi), 65 degrees of inclination, and an orbital period of 89.4 minutes. It was successfully intercepted and destroyed by Kosmos 462. Two major pieces of debris were associated with the satellite, which decayed from orbit on 1 and 7 December 1971.
Kosmos 459 was the fourth of the five original DS-P1-M satellites to be launched, of which all but the first successfully reached orbit. After the five initial launches the DS-P1-M satellite was replaced with a derivative, Lira. The interception of Kosmos 459 was the last completed test of the IS-A interceptor as part of Soviet state trials, and the last attempt to intercept a baseline DS-P1-M satellite as no attempt was made to intercept Kosmos 521. Following the test, the IS-A anti-satellite system was declared operational.
Payloads are separated by bullets ( · ), launches by pipes ( | ). Manned flights are indicated in bold text. Uncatalogued launch failures are listed in italics. Payloads deployed from other spacecraft are denoted in brackets.