A Russian rocket Proton-M, with a military satellite on board, the Blagovest No. 12L, has taken off on Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, the largest and oldest space launch facility in the world, as reported by the Ministry of Defense of Russia.
The Russian Proton-M rocket has made its first flight in six months to deploy a military communications satellite, Blagovest. Its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome took place at 04.12, local time (22.12 UTC).
The rocket carries the Blagovest No.12L satellite, the second satellite of a new series of military communications satellites owned by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Blagovest No. 12L was renamed Kosmos 2526, after launch, respecting the designation scheme that Russia uses for its military satellites.
The Blagovest No. 12L (Kosmos 2526) launched with Proton-M will serve the Russian Army
The Blagovest (“Good News”) satellites, 4 in total, have been built by the ISS Reshetnev company and is a project that has been funded by the Russian Army.
These satellites are designed to provide high-speed data transmission and are equipped with telephony, broadcasting, and Internet services, which will link Russian military bases, all over the world, but it was stated that will also have a commercial role. However, the secrecy surrounding this mission indicates that the military role of the Blagovest exceeds its share in commercial operations.
Once in orbit, the satellite will deploy a pair of solar panels to generate power and is expected to remain in service for fifteen years.
Russia plans on launching the remaining Blagovest military satellites by 2020
The Blagovest satellite constellation will consist of at least four satellites in geostationary orbit. The launch of the Blagovest No.12L on Wednesday follows the successful deployment of the first satellite in the series, Blagovest No.11L, now known as Kosmos 2520, which was deployed in August 2017.
The Russian military satellite launched recently with a Proton-M rocket is the second of the four satellites that are programmed to form a constellation of satellites that will be operated by the Russian Army and Aerospace Forces. The Russian Ministry of Defense plans to put the remaining two satellites, Blagovest 13L and 14L, into orbit by 2020.