|(Image by Jose Furtado, via Wikimedia Commons)|
According to Metro, astronomer Jonathan McDowell wrote on Twitter that in late 2013, "Russia launched a Rokot vehicle with three military communications satellites and a fourth, initially unannounced, payload, later acknowledged with the cover name Kosmos-2491 and associated with the RS-46 amateur radio payload ... It appeared to end its mission in 2014."
"However," McDowell continued, "at about 1321 UTC on 2019 Dec 23, the satellite made a 1.5m/s orbit change and 10 debris objects have now been catalogued."
McDowell speculated that the satellite may have been destroyed either intentionally or accidentally, either as a result of colliding with space debris or – more likely, he says – that unused propellant still carried by the spacecraft exploded. He noted that "(r)ocket stages which don't do depletion burns sometimes blow up years later."
Bottom line for hams: If you're looking for RS-46, it isn't there anymore.