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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. 

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Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.

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