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Soyuz rocket launches Glonass-M navigation satellite for Russian military

 A Soyuz rocket launched a new navigation satellite into orbit for Russia's military forces on Monday (March 16) in a dazzling nighttime liftoff from a snowy launchpad. 

The Soyuz 2.1b rocket launched the Glonass-M navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia at 9:28 p.m. Moscow time (2:28 p.m. EDT/1828 GMT). The Soyuz's Fregat upper stage then delivered the satellite to its final orbit.

"On March 16, 2020, at 18:28 UTC a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket equipped with a Fregat booster manufactured by NPO Lavochkin (part of Roscosmos) launched successfully from Plesetsk cosmodrome carrying a Glonass-M navigational satellite manufactured by ISS Reshetnev company," Russia's space agency Roscosmos announced in a statement. "The satellite separated routinely from the booster after three Fregat booster service propulsion unit burns."

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A Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket launches a Glonass-M navigation satellite into orbit for the country's Ministry of Defence from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on March 16, 2020.

A Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket launches a Glonass-M navigation satellite into orbit for the country's Ministry of Defence from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on March 16, 2020. (Image credit: Roscosmos/Russian Ministry of Defenc)

Russia's Glonass-M satellites make up a constellation of space-based navigation craft for the country's Glonass system orbital group. 

"They transmit navigational information and time data to the ground, maritime, air and space customers," Roscosmos officials said in a statement. 

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.

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