Seventh Meridian satellite blasts off successfully from Plesetsk

Russia launched its seventh Meridian satellite, a military communications relay satellite meant to replace the old Molniya constellation.  Like the Molniyas, the Meridians go into highly elliptical orbits optimized for supporting communications at high latitudes, where geosynchronous satellites have a poor line-of-sight with the ground thanks to the curvature of the Earth.  This launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Arkhangelsk Oblast, 800 km north of Moscow.

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