On 22 May 2009 the Space Forces conducted a launch of a Soyuz-2.1a space launcher equipped with a Fregat post-boost stage, which delivered into orbit a Meridian military communication satellite. The launch took place at 01:53 MSK (21:53 21 May 2009 UTC) from the launch pad No. 4 of the launch complex No. 43 of the Plesetsk space launch site.
The spacecraft received international designation 2009-029A and NORAD catalog number 35008. According to NORAD data, it was deployed in an orbit with inclination of 62.8 degrees, orbital period of about 645 minutes, apogee of about 36500 km, and perigee of 320 km. This is a highly-elliptical orbit, similar to those traditionally used by Molniya-type communication satellites.
Although the Space Forces reported today's launch a success, the initial orbit of the satellite is lower than the one of the Meridian-1 satellite, which has the apogee of about 39000 km and perigee of about 1270 km. Accordingly, the orbital period is less that it is required to maintain a stable semisynchronous orbit. This appears to be a result of a malfunction of the third stage, which was cut off prematurely. At this point it is not clear how this will affect operations of the satellite.
Meridian-2 is a second satellite of this kind. The first, Meridian-1, was launched in December 2006.
UPDATE: The satellite reportedly received a designation Cosmos-2451. It should be noted that Meridian-1 did not receive a Cosmos designation.
LATE UPDATE: The satellite will not receive a Cosmos designation and will be known as Meridian.
LATE UPDATE: The Reshetnev Design Bureau in a press-release about the launch admitted that the satellite was deployed on an orbit that is "close to nominal". Other than that, the satellite is fully operational.