Kosmos 1278
Mission typeEarly warning
COSPAR ID1981-058A
SATCAT no.12547
Mission duration4 years [1]
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeUS-K[2]
Launch mass1,900 kilograms (4,200 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date19 June 1981, 19:37 (1981-06-19UTC19:37Z) UTC
Launch sitePlesetsk Cosmodrome[2][3]
End of mission
Deactivated5 July 1984[1]
Decay date2 September 2000 (2000-09-03)[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeMolniya [2]
Perigee altitude665 kilometres (413 mi)[4]
Apogee altitude39,725 kilometres (24,684 mi)[4]
Inclination62.8 degrees[4]
Period718.49 minutes[4]

Kosmos 1278 (Russian: Космос 1278 meaning Cosmos 1278) was a Soviet US-K missile early warning satellite which was launched in 1981 as part of the Soviet military's Oko programme. The satellite was designed to identify missile launches using optical telescopes and infrared sensors.[2]

Kosmos 1278 was launched from Site 43/3 at Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Russian SSR.[3] A Molniya-M carrier rocket with a 2BL upper stage was used to perform the launch, which took place at 19:37 UTC on 19 June 1981.[3] The launch successfully placed the satellite into a molniya orbit. It subsequently received its Kosmos designation, and the international designator 1981-058A.[4] The United States Space Command assigned it the Satellite Catalog Number 12547.[4]

It self-destructed in December 1986[1] and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on 2 September 2000.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Podvig, Pavel (2002). "History and the Current Status of the Russian Early-Warning System" (PDF). Science and Global Security. 10 (1): 21–60. Bibcode:2002S&GS...10...21P. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/08929880212328. ISSN 0892-9882. S2CID 122901563. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-15.
  2. ^ a b c d e "US-K (73D6)". Gunter's Space Page. 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  3. ^ a b c McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 30 April 2012.