Meridian 2 (Russian: Меридиан-2), also known as Meridian No.12L, was a Russian communications satellite.[2] It was the second satellite of the Meridian system, which replaced the older Molniya series. It followed on from Meridian 1, which was launched in December 2006.

Meridian 2
Mission typeCommunications
COSPAR ID2009-029A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.35008
Mission durationLaunch failure
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerISS Reshetnev
Start of mission
Launch date21 May 2009 (2009-05-21)
Launch sitePlesetsk 43/4
ContractorRVSN RF
End of mission
Decay date23 April 2021, 04:48 UTC[1]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeMolniya (planned)
Perigee altitude1,277 kilometres (793 mi)
Apogee altitude35,244 kilometres (21,900 mi)
Inclination64.84 degrees
Period641 minutes
Epoch27 July 2014

Meridian 2 was launched on a Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Fregat upper stage, from Site 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.[3] The launch occurred on 21 May 2009, at 21:53 GMT.[4] While the launch was officially announced as successful, the satellite was placed in a significantly lower orbit than expected,[5] and it was later reported that the upper stage of the Soyuz carrier rocket had shut down five seconds early, and an attempt to compensate for the low orbit resulted in the Fregat running out of fuel during its second burn.[5][6] Following launch, it was reported to have been given a Kosmos designation; however, such a designation was never assigned.[5][6] Molniya satellites intended for operational use were only assigned Kosmos designations if they were considered to have failed. If it had received a Kosmos designation, it would have been Kosmos 2451 (Russian: Космос 2451 meaning Cosmos 2451).

While the launch was originally considered to have been a partial failure, with the spacecraft able to correct its own orbit, it later emerged that the spacecraft could not reach a usable orbit, and the mission was declared a failure.[7]

Meridian 2 was believed to have been based on the Uragan-M satellite bus,[8] which has also been used for GLONASS navigation satellites. It was constructed by ISS Reshetnev. It was intended operate in a Molniya orbit with a perigee of 900 kilometres (560 mi), an apogee of 39,000 kilometres (24,000 mi), and 65° inclination.[8]

Based on radio observations, Meridian 2 was known to downlink in the 278 MHz, 992 MHz-1002 MHz and 3.6 GHz bands.[9]

On 23 April 2021, Meridian 2 naturally deorbited and burned up in the atmosphere.[10]


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan [@planet4589] (23 April 2021). "The Meridian No. 12L military communications satellite, launched by Russia in 2009, reentered on Apr 23 at 0448 UTC off the coast of Antarctica" (Tweet). Retrieved 25 April 2021 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Russia launches military satellite into orbit". RIA Novosti. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  3. ^ Черноиванова, Алина (2009-05-21). С Плесецка стартовал "Союз-2" со спутником нового поколения (in Russian). Infox. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  4. ^ Космический аппарат и разгонный блок отделились от "Союза-2" (in Russian). ITAR-TASS. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2009-05-22.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c McDowell, Jonathan. "Issue 611". Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  6. ^ a b Podvig, Pavel (22 May 2009). "Launch of the second Meridian communication satellite". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Russian Nuclear Forces Project. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  7. ^ Zak, Anatoly. "The Meridian satellite (14F112)". RussianSpaceWeb. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  8. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "Meridian (14F112)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  9. ^ " - Meridian / Molniya HEO monitoring".
  10. ^ "Российский военный спутник связи "Меридиан" сгорел в атмосфере" [Russian military communications satellite "Meridian" burns up in the atmosphere]. TASS (in Russian). 24 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.

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