Russian Ministry of Defense emblem.
December 13, 2015
(Illustration) Proton-M launch
Russia’s Proton-M launched on its seventh flight of the year Sunday morning, beginning a lengthy mission to deploy a Garpun military communications satellite. The rocket departed Baikonur at 06:19 local time (00:19 UTC) to begin a nine-hour journey to geostationary orbit that resulted in a successful deployment of the satellite.
Launch of Kosmos Garpun Satellite (Illustration video, launch of 20 sept. 2011)
Garpun, meaning Harpoon, is a series of new-generation space-to-ground communications satellites dedicated to support Russia’s military space assets.
Garpun military communications satellite
The Garpun constellation, like its predecessor, is designed to provide data relay capabilities for Russia’s fleet of reconnaissance satellites, such as the Persona electro-optical imaging spacecraft and Lotos-S signals intelligence vehicles. It fulfils the same function for Russia as the National Reconnaissance Office’s Quasar – or Satellite Data System (SDS) – satellites do for the United States.
Images, Video, Text, Credits: ROSCOSMOS/ISS Reshetnev/NASA Spaceflight.com/William Graham.