Russia launches the Meridian-M Communication satellite
Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket took off from its Northern most Spaceport, Plesetsk
Today, March 22, at 15:48.22.591 Moscow time (18.104.22.1681 UTC), the combat team of the Space Forces of the Russian Federation successfully launched the Soyuz-2.1a medium class launch vehicle with the Meridian- M from Launch Pad No. 3 at Site No. 43 of the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
The Russian Ministry of Defense(Minoboron) noted that all pre-launch and launch operations took place in normal mode. The launch was controlled by an automated ground-based system. “The Fregat upper stage with the Meridian-M spacecraft (some sources states Meridian-M №10) has been separated from the carrier rocket. The vehicle's fairing, enclosed with Fregat Tug and the Meridian-M spacecraft, was separated from the third stage at the estimated time, 15:57 Moscow time [12:57 UTC], the ministry said. Fregat made an ignition at about T+1h45min to go from an orbit of about 200 × 200 km to an orbit of about 290 × 36,000 km and another around T+2h15m to insert the satellite into its final orbit of about 1,000 × 39,800 km. After separation from the spacecraft, Fregat was to perform another burn to place itself in disposal orbit.
The purpose of the Meridian series satellites is to provide communication for maritime vessels and reconnaissance aircraft in the area of the Northern Sea Route with coast and land stations. In addition, satellites are needed to expand the capabilities of communication stations in northern Siberia and the Far East.
Meridian (spacecraft 14F112) is a third-generation communications satellite that replaced the Molniya and Raduga satellites. In 2017 the Information Satellite Systems Reshetnev factory received an order for the production of four modified Meridian-M military satellites.