Russia launches navigation satellite

February 26th, 2011 - 4:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Feb 26 (IANS) Russia has launched a satellite which is part of a network that is its answer to the US Global Positioning System (GPS).The Russian Space Forces successfully launched a new Glonass-K navigation satellite from the Plesetsk space center, a defence ministry spokesman said Saturday.

The previous launch under the Glonass project in December 2010, supposed to conclude the forming of the satellite grouping, was unsuccessful as the rocket veered off course and sank in the Pacific Ocean. The loss cost Russia 2.5 billion rubles ($86 million) in direct damages, RIA Novosti reported.

The Glonass satellite network is Russia’s answer to the US Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few metres.

The Glonass-K has a service life of 10 years. The complete grouping must have 24 operational and 2-3 reserve satellites for the Glonass network to operate with global coverage.

Russia currently has 22 Glonass satellites in orbit and will launch three more Glonass-M satellites on board a Proton heavy carrier rocket later this year to complete the satellite network.

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