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New Glonass-K satellite to be launched in December

RIA Novosti

02:01 01/10/2010 PLESETSK SPACE CENTER, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - The first launch of the new generation Glonass-K navigation satellite from Russia's Plesetsk space center will take place in December, the Space Forces commander said on Friday.

Glonass — the Global Navigation Satellite System — is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

"As far as the Glonass [satellite] grouping is concerned, we plan to expand it. Specifically, the first new-generation spacecraft Glonass-K will be launched in December on the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket from the Plesetsk space center," Lt. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko said.

In addition, a Proton carrier rocket with three Glonass-M satellites will be launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan in December.

The Glonass system requires 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of Russia and at least 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.

As of late July, Russia had 21 operational spacecraft in orbit.

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