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NEW YORK, March 27 (Itar-Tass) — The first Soviet weather satellite Meteor-1 is deorbiting 43 years after its launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in 1969. Data of the space tracking systems of the US Strategic Command testify to this.
According to the US military, the satellite’s current distance from Earth in the apogee is 201 kilometres, in the perigee - 181 kilometres, inclination - 81 degrees. The spacecraft is expected to begin to fall on Tuesday at 01:46, Moscow time, plus or minus four hours, and its re-entry will take place at the coordinates 44.7 degrees North latitude and 251 degrees East longitude.
The Meteor-1 satellite the mass of which is 1.4 tonnes, was the first fully operational meteorological satellites of the USSR and the ninth meteorological satellite launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome. On March 26, 1969, the R-7 carrier rocket placed the spacecraft into a near-polar orbit. With two cameras and one infrared radiometer the satellite was collecting and transmitting data about the weather on the planet to centres in Moscow, Novosibirsk and Vladivostok, from where they were transferred for analysis and making weather forecasts to the Moscow Hydrometeorological Centre, as well as to foreign meteorological centres. Meteor-1 provided near-global observations of the earth’s weather systems, cloud cover, ice and snow fields, and reflected and emitted radiation from the dayside and nightside of the earth-atmosphere system for operational use by the Soviet meteorological service.
Two solar panels of the satellite were capable of orienting themselves towards the sun, ensuring a continuous power supply.