Reaction wheel of Molniya-1 satellite

Reaction wheel of Molniya-1 satellite

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Molniya 1 communications satellite. Testing the reaction wheel assembly of a Molniya-1 military communications satellite. The reaction wheels are used to control the spacecraft's orientation while on orbit. Molniya-1 was the first attempt by the Soviet Union to provide satellite-based communications for its armed forces. The first two test flights in 1964 were failures, but the third flight in October 1965 was a success. The Molniya satellites were launched into a highly-elliptical orbit which allowed them more time over the north polar regions than a sun-synchronous orbit, and better coverage than a geostationary orbit. Various satellites of the Molniya-1 type were launched, achieving operational status in 1968.

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Keywords: arctic, black, communications, comsat, construction, elliptical, horizontal, military, molniya 1, monochrome, northern, novosti, orbit, polar, radio, reaction wheel, russia, russian, satellite, soviet, space, spacecraft, stabiliser, stabilitty, test, testing, voice, white

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