Russia successfully launched a Soyuz 2-1A Fregat M vehicle carrying the Meridian M No 19 L (Meridian M 9) satellite into a high arcing Molniya orbit at 0824 GMT on 20 February from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia.

Note that the third stage actually under-performed on the launch but the Fregat M upper stage compensated for the velocity shortfall and placed the satellite in the correct orbit.

The satellite will be used to provide communications services to the Russian Military and Civil users in the Arctic and high latitude regions of the Earth which cannot normally be reached by conventional geostationary communications satellite signal footprints.

Communications satellites in Molniya and Tundra orbits can reach the parts that other orbits cannot reach. Courtesy: Marcom/Marintek/Sintef