Russia's Proton rocket lifts off with Glonass navigation satellite

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Moscow, Sep 25 (UNI) Russia's Proton booster rocket today lifted off from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to deploy three satellites of the global positioning system, Glonass, into orbit.

''The Proton rocket with a DM acceleration unit and three Glonass-M spacecraft was launched at 1249 hrs (local time),'' Lieutenant-Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin, chief of the information and public relations service of the Russian Space Defence Forces, told Itar-Tass news agency.

The purpose of the launch is to replenish the orbital satellite cluster of the Glonass system, Zolotukhin said.

''The orbital cluster has available 16 satellites, including 14 ones used for designated purpose, one is temporarily out of operation for technical maintenance, and another one is in the stage of being removed from the system,'' he said.

The Glonass system is designed to form a continuous field of navigational signal, by means of which it is possible to determine with high accuracy the position and speed of movement of any moving objects fitted out with glonass receivers.

At least 18 operating satellites are essential to ensure that the Glonass navigational signal is continuously received throughout Russia's territory. Full complement is 24 satellites.

Glonass-M satellites are made on the basis of a hermetically sealed platform at the Zheleznogorsk-based Reshetnev Satellite-Aided Data Systems public joint-stock company. The period of their active functioning is seven years.

They will operate in circular orbits at an altitude of 19,100 km and an orbital inclination of 64.8 degrees.

New satellites are to be rendered operational within 45 days after launch.


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