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Meridian-M No.18

Soyuz 2.1a/Fregat-M

Russian Space Forces

Launch Status
Success

Mission

Meridian-M No.18

Type: Communications

The Meridian series of communications satellites is reported to be the replacement for all the Molniya-1T, the Molniya-3 and Molniya-3K satellite series and possibly also for the communication component of the Parus. They are launched into highly eccentric Molniya-orbits. Meridian is the highly eccentric orbit (HEO) component of the Integrated Satellite Communications System (ISSS), where they work in conjunction with the geostationary Raduga-1M (Globus-M) satellites. The bus structure is reportedly pressurized, possibly based on the Uragan-M bus. Meridian satellites carry three transponders operating in different frequency bands.

Location

43/4 (43R)

Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russian Federation

72 rockets have launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russian Federation.

43/4 (43R), Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russian Federation

Rocket

Soyuz 2.1a/Fregat-M

Length: 46.3 meters
Diameter: 2.95 meters
First Launch: October 19, 2010

The 2.1a version includes conversion from analog to digital flight control system and uprated engines on the booster and the first stage with improved injection systems. The new digital flight control and telemetry systems allow the rocket to launch from a fixed rather than angled launch platform and adjust its heading in flight. A digital control system also enables the launch of larger commercial satellites with wider and longer payload fairings such as the ST-type fairing. These fairings introduce too much aerodynamic instability for the old analog system to handle.

The Soyuz 2.1a/Fregat-M rocket has been launched a total of 15 times with 14 successful and 1 failed launches.

Agency

Russian Space Forces

Type: Government
Abbreviation: VKS
Administration: Aleksandr Golovko
Founded: 1992

Country: RUS

The Russian Space Forces are a branch of the Russian Aerospace Forces, that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and protection for Russia. Having been reestablished following August 1, 2015 merger between the Russian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces after a 2011 dissolving of the branch. The Russian Space Forces were originally formed on August 10, 1992 and the creation of the Russian Armed Forces.

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