Russia launched a military communications satellite Friday morning, with a Proton-M/Briz-M rocket lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to deploy Blagovest No.13L into geostationary orbit. Launch occurred on time at 05:20 local time (00:20 UTC), although it will be nine hours before Proton’s payload separates into its final orbit.
Blagovest No.13L is the third satellite to be launched for Russia’s Blagovest communications system. Designed to provide dedicated satellite links between the country’s military bases, Blagovest spacecraft are equipped with Ka and Q-band transponders. The satellites are intended for dual military and civilian use, supporting commercial telephony, high-speed internet and broadcasting services, although the military role is their primary mission.
The Russian Ministry of Defence intends to deploy a constellation of at least four Blagovest into geostationary orbit, using slots at 45 and 128 degrees East. The spacecraft have been constructed by ISS Reshetnev and are based around the Ekspress 2000 platform. While their military nature means that few details of their capabilities have been made public, it is understood that each satellite is expected to operate for at least fifteen years.
The first Blagovest satellite, No.11L – now named Kosmos 2520, was launched in August 2017 and is positioned in ...