Space: Molniya Hits A Hundred And Dies

Archives

May 16, 2011: Russia recently launched the fourth Meridian military communications satellite. The Meridian model is replacing the 1960s era Molniya communications birds. About a hundred Molniya satellites were launched, with a 94 percent success rate. Normally, eight Molniyas were needed in orbit to cover the entire planet. That was later reduced to four, as the basic Molniya design was improved. The last Molniya was launched in 2005.

The new Meridian borrows a lot of technology from the GLONASS navigation satellites. The GLONASS birds are very advanced, as they are meant to compete with the American GPS. The original Molniya satellites were simply relays for teletype, telegraph or radio. But as new communications needs developed (TV, digital) these were added. Like most Russian satellite, the early Molniyas only lasted a few years. So there was little risk of getting stuck with obsolete technology up there, or having to wait long to put a new communications tech into service. Meridian is built to Western standards, and expected to last a lot longer, and do a lot more.

 


Article Archive

Space: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close