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Russia launches GLONASS satellites

GLONASS satellite launch. Image Credit: Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Centre for Ground-Based Space Infrastructure” (TsENKI).

BAIKONUR (BNS): A Proton-M rocket, carrying three GLONASS navigation satellites, blasted off from the Baikonur space centre here on Monday.

The launch took place at 1338 hours Moscow time, Roscosmos said.

The rocket's three core stages are expected to place the Block DM upper stage and three GLONASS satellites in a temporary parking orbit less than 10 minutes after liftoff.

This is the ninth Proton carrier rocket for this year and 350th since it was operational in 1965, the space agency said.

The satellite payloads are scheduled to be deployed at 1400 GMT.

The Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) is an alternative and complementary system to the US’ Global Positioning System, China’s Compass navigation system, and the planned Galileo positioning system of the European Union.

Designed for both military and civilian purposes, GLONASS enables its users to determine their positions within a few meters.

The system requires 18 satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire Russian Federation, and 24 satellites to provide services across the globe.

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