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Russia Launches Three New Glonass Navigation Satellites

Russia Launches Three New Glonass Navigation Satellites
A Russian Proton M rocket stands poised to launch three Glonass navigation satellites on Dec. 22, 2008. Liftoff occurred as planned on Dec. 25 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Image credit: Federal Space Agency.)

MOSCOW -Russia's Federal Space Agency has successfully launched threenew Glonass navigation and positioning satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome inKazakhstan aboard a Proton-M rocket.

After thelatest launch on Dec. 25, Glonass - Russia's equivalent of the U.S. GPS system - counts 20satellites, enough to cover Russia's entire territory with a positioningaccuracy of up to 1 meter, Sergei Ivanov, Russia's deputy prime minister incharge of technology, said in televised remarks Dec. 25.

Ivanov saidthe newlylaunched satellites will undergo about 45 days of testing before joiningthe operational fleet. The Glonass system needs to have 24 satellites toprovide global service.

"Ipersonally believe that there would be no big problems related to the spacepart of the Glonass system. In the coming two years we have to concentrateattention on the land part of this space system," Ivanov said.

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