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Molniya satellite deployed from Plesetsk spaceport

Russian space forces successfully launched a military communications 
satellite into a MOLNIYA* orbit from its northern cosmodrome 
Thursday, wire reports said. 


* An elliptical orbit at a specific inclination, 60-odd degrees, 
usually with apogee above the Northern Hemisphere. The Earth's 
equatorial bulge normally causes the position of apogee and perigee 
to rotate in the plane of an elliptical orbit, but at the particular 
inclination of the Molniya orbits, this effect is zero and the apogee 
stays where its put. The Russians use it for their Molniya 
communication satellites (whence the name) because it makes them more 
visible from very high latitudes than Clarke orbit. The inclination 
is high enough to miss the worst part of the inner Van Allen belt, 
which is near the equator.


Amateur satellites AO-10, AO-13, and AO-40 are among those that 
use(d) "Molniya type" orbits.


73, Jeff 
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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