Yantar (Russian: Янтарь meaning amber) is a series of Russian (previously Soviet) reconnaissance satellites, which supplemented and eventually replaced the Zenit spacecraft. Kosmos 2175, a Yantar-4K2 or Kobalt spacecraft, was the first satellite to be launched by the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Yantar-Terilen was the first real-time digital system. Yantar satellites also formed the basis for the later Orlets, Resurs and Persona satellites. 174 have been launched, nine of which were lost in launch failures. The most recent launch was of Kosmos 2480 a Yantar-4K2M or Kobalt-M, on 17 May 2012. All Yantar satellites have been launched using the Soyuz-U carrier rocket, and the launch of Kosmos 2480 was announced as the last launch of that rocket.
|Series||Other designations||GRAU index||First launch||Last launch||Number launched||Remarks|
|Yantar-1KFT||Kometa (Russian: Комета meaning comet)
Siluet (Russian: Силуэт meaning silhouette) 
|11F660||18 February 1981||2 September 2005||21|
|Yantar-2K||Feniks (Russian: Феникс meaning phoenix) ||11F624||23 May 1974||28 June 1983||30|
|Yantar-4K1||Oktan (Russian: Октан meaning octane||11F693||27 April 1979||30 November 1983||12|
|Yantar-4K2||Kobalt (Russian: Кобальт meaning cobalt)||11F695||21 August 1981||25 February 2002||82|
|Yantar-4K2M||Kobalt-M ||11F695M||24 September 2004||17 May 2012||7||Active|
|Yantar-4KS1||Terilen Russian: Терилен meaning terylene)||11F694||28 December 1982||21 December 1990||15|
|Yantar-4KS1M||Neman Russian: Неман meaning Neman) ||17F117||10 July 1991||3 May 2000||9|
In 1964 Soviet design bureau OKB-1 was tasked with improving on the newly operational Zenit-2 reconnaissance satellites. They had three streams of work: modifying Zenit satellites, a manned reconnaissance craft called Soyuz-R and a new photo reconnaissance satellite based on Soyuz-R. The third stream was codenamed Yantar and initially there were to be two types - Yantar-1 for medium resolution imaging and Yantar-2 for high resolution. In 1967 a new high resolution satellite was proposed called Yantar-2K. Yantar-2K received government support with the first flight originally planned for 1970, although this deadline slipped.
Yantar-2K differed from Zenit in that it had to stay in orbit for a month unlike Zenit's 8–14 days. It also had 2 film return capsules, something it had in common with the US KH-7 GAMBIT reconnaissance satellite. It had three parts: the aggregate/equipment module (AO - Agregatnyy Otsek), the instrument module (PO - Pribornnyy Otsek) and the special equipment module/special apparatus module (OSA - otsek spetsial'noy apparatury). The special equipment module was the part that returned to earth at the end of the mission, and contained the Zhemchug-4 (pearl) camera. Each section was shaped like a truncated cone which gave the craft a conical shape. The craft was 6.3m long (although one source says 8.5m) with a maximum diameter of 2.7m. It weighed 6.6 tonnes.
Yantar-4K1 was a modification of the Yantar-2K. It had a better camera, the Zhemchug-18, and was in orbit for 45 days rather than the 30 days of Yantar-2K. Other systems were the same as the Yantar-2K and both types of satellites were launched in the same period. Both satellites were retired in 1984.
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