Russia added another piece to its GLONASS satellite-navigation network on Monday (Nov. 28).
A Soyuz rocket rocket topped with a GLONASS-M satellite lifted off from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwestern Russia Monday at 10:17 a.m. EST (1517 GMT; 6:17 p.m. Moscow time).
GLONASS is a satellite-navigation network, Russia's equivalent of the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS), China's Beidou and Europe's Galileo.
The satellite that went up on the Soyuz Monday was apparently the 61st and final spacecraft in the GLONASS-M line, according to Anatoly Zak of RussianSpaceWeb.com. It will operate from a circular orbit about 12,000 miles (19,000 kilometers) above Earth, Zak wrote.
GLONASS-M is a venerable line; the first spacecraft in the series launched in 2003. Russia is transitioning to newer variants such as the GLONASS-K, which debuted in 2011.
The past few months have been busy for Roscosmos and Russia's larger space industry. The country has launched eight orbital missions since Oct. 10, and it sent two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Soyuz spacecraft on Sept. 21.
All of this action is occurring against the backdrop of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which began in February. The invasion has cost Russia some of its longstanding space partnerships; Soyuz rockets no longer fly out of Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, for example, and the European Space Agency has ended cooperation with Russia on its life-hunting ExoMars rover, named Rosalind Franklin. Russia had been tapped to contribute a landing platform and a rocket for the mission.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.