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Cosmos (satellite)

The Cosmos satellites were launched by the Soviet Union. Most were suspected of being military spy satellites.

Beginning in 1962, the name Cosmos was given to Soviet spacecraft which remained in Earth orbit, regardless of whether that was their intended final destination. Typically Soviet planetary missions were initially put into an Earth parking orbit as a launch platform with a rocket engine and attached probe. The probes were then launched toward their targets with an engine burn with a duration of roughly 4 minutes. If the engine misfired or the burn was not completed, the probes would be left in Earth orbit and given a Cosmos designation. This allowed the Soviets to claim a more successful record for their planetary exploration programs, and also may have helped further disguise genuine military satellites of the Cosmos series.

Selected Cosmos satellites