March 12, 23:35
MOSCOW, November 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Specialists at the Plesetsk space centre in the Arkhangelsk region completed erected at the launch complex Soyuz-2.1a launcher with the Fregat upper stage for the launch of the Meridian spacecraft, an official representative of the Aerospace Defence Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin said on Sunday.
"Today, specialists of the cosmodrome transported and erected Soyuz-2.1a launcher into a starter of pad 43", he said.
After the installation, the staff will conduct a series of tests for components and systems of the carrier and the launching equipment, he added.
"Launch of Soyuz-2.1a with Meridian spacecraft is due on November 14," the official said.
Soyuz-2.1a is a modification of the rocket Soyuz-2, which belongs to a class of three-stage launch vehicles, created on the basis of the Soyuz-U carrier rocket through extensive modernization. The development was produced by TsSKB Progress / Samara /. Payload output of the low Earth orbit is from 2,800 to 9,200 kilograms, depending on the version and the trigger point.
Soyuz-2.1a instead of two analogous control systems has a Russian-made unified digital control system. This has improved significantly injection accuracy, stability and control of the rocket, as well as use of a large nose fairing and, accordingly, increase of payload taken to the orbit. Soyuz-2.1a also uses a new digital radio telemetry system.
Flight tests of Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrier began with the launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome November 8, 2004.
Meridian dual satellite is designed for both military and civilian purposes. It is made at the Reshetnev enterprise /in the Krasnoyarsk territory/. Meridian is intended to replace the currently used satellites Molniya-1, "Molniya-3K and Parus. Among other things, these spacecrafts will provide communication with on-shore stations for vessels and aircrafts of ice reconnaissance in the area of the Northern Sea Route.
The Plesetsk cosmodrome is a Russian spaceport, located in the Arkhangelsk region, about 800 kilometres north of Moscow and approximately 200 kilometres south of Arkhangelsk.