Russia has launched a new geostationary weather satellite, Elektro-L No.3, on Tuesday aboard a Proton-M rocket which flew from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Liftoff occurred on time at 18:03 local time (12:03 UTC), beginning a six-and-a-half-hour mission for Russia’s veteran heavy-lift rocket.
Elektro-L No.3 is the third in a series of weather satellites that Russia is deploying to geostationary orbit, from where the satellites can image and monitor the full disc of the Earth. The Elektro satellites complement Russia’s low-orbit Meteor satellites in returning data that meteorologists can use to build forecasts and study the climate.
From their vantage points high above the Earth’s equator, Elektro-L satellites monitor wide areas of the planet’s surface. Elektro-L No.3 will be positioned over the Pacific Ocean at a longitude of 165.8 degrees East. This will allow it to observe Russia’s far eastern regions, as well as Oceania and parts of Asia.
The satellite will join the Elektro-L No.1 and No.2 satellites in orbit. These were launched aboard Zenit-3F rockets in January 2011 and December 2015 and operate at longitudes of 14.5 and 77.8 degrees East respectively.
Weighing in at 2,094 kilograms (4,616 lb), Elektro-L No.3 is slightly heavier than its two predecessors. This is ...