At 0556 GMT, on 30 July 2019, the MERIDIAN 8 military communications satellite was launched by a Russian Soyuz 2-1A rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The Soyuz rocket utilised a Fregat-M upper stage. The Meridian programme utilises the highly elliptical, Molniya orbit in order to provide better coverage to the Russian Arctic regions.