Russia has launched an EKS missile early warning satellite for the country’s Ministry of Defense from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
The missile early warning satellite was launched aboard a Soyuz 2.1b rocket equipped with a Fregat upper stage from Plesetsk on May 22 at 07:31 UTC. Following a successful launch, the satellite was placed into a highly elliptical orbit of 38,508 x 1,656 kilometers at an inclination of 63.8 degrees.
Russian space agency Roscomos confirmed in a May 22 press release that a signal from the satellite had been successfully acquired and that the satellite was operating nominally. The release confirmed once the mission had been deemed a success, the satellite was assigned an official designation of Cosmos-2546.
Cosmos-2546 is the fourth edition to Russia’s EKS early warning satellite constellation. In addition to the constellation acting as an early warning system for the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles, each satellite is believed to also be equipped with an emergency communications payload to be used in case of a nuclear war.
The first EKS satellite was launched in late 2015. With the addition of the fourth, the country requires the launch of just one more satellite to complete the early warning system.