The Soviet dual-purpose satellite Molniya-1-44 (Molniya-1 + series) has ceased to exist, it follows from a report by one of the US-based online tracking services for spacecraft.
“The object has disintegrated over the territory of Zimbabwe,” the report says.
As previously stated Academician of the Russian Academy of Astronautics Alexander Zheleznyakov, only miniature fragments of the spacecraft can reach the Earth. “The satellites of the Molniya series were launched in large series, which is why they completely disintegrate in the atmosphere, and only fragments of about 500 grams can fly to the ground,” Zheleznyakov said.
The expert specified that in total about 50 satellites descend from orbit, two or three of which are satellites of the Molniya series.
Initially, the Molnia-1 + satellite communications system was used to provide telephone and telegraph communication in the territory of the USSR, as well as for the transmission of Central TV programs to 20 specially created earth stations with antennas 12 meters in diameter (the Orbit system).
At the same time, in 1965-1967 it was decided to create a communication and combat command system “Korund” with the on-board repeater “Beta” on the basis of Molniya-1 + satellites. The system was adopted in 1975, and the number of satellites in the system increased from four to eight.
From that moment the apparatus was launched under a new index of the GUKOS – 11F658 and was used in the communication and combat control system of the Strategic Missile Forces. Since 1975, as part of the Korund system, communication facilities have been established between the Chief of Communications of the Armed Forces (Ruchey complex), the radio link of the ground-based automated control system for space assets of the Ministry of Defense and the radio communication line for mobile government communications Surgut.
The complete grouping of the Molniya-1 + apparatus consisted of eight apparatuses on the highly elliptical 12-hour orbits of Molniya with its apogee in the Northern Hemisphere. The spacecraft were divided into four pairs, in each of which the satellites moved along one land route at intervals of six hours one after another.