NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive Header

Molniya 3-20



The Molniya-3 Soviet communications satellites were used to create the 'Orbita' communications system for northern regions, with groups of four satellites. The first Molniya 3 spacecraft appeared in 1974, primarily to support civil communications (domestic and international), with a slightly enhanced electrical power system and a communications payload of three 6/4 GHz transponders with power outputs of 40 W or 80 W. The land segment used a 12 m diameter parabolic antenna, which was pointed automatically at the satellite using autonomous electromechanical equipment. Later versions were to be part of the YeSSS Unified Satellite Communications System. Trials of this version began in the 1980's, with the system being accepted by the Russian military in 1983-1985.

Alternate Names

  • 13875
  • Molniya3-20

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1983-03-11
Launch Vehicle: Modified SS-6 (Sapwood) with 2nd Generation Upper Stage + Escape Stage
Launch Site: Plesetsk, U.S.S.R
Mass: 1500 kg

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (U.S.S.R)


  • Communications

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

[] NASA Logo -