December 12, 20:34
MOSCOW, November 5 (Itar-Tass) — Three Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) have been successfully put in final orbit. "The Proton-M booster rocket that blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 16:51, Moscow time, on Friday, successfully put three GLONASS-M units in final orbit at 22:41, Moscow time," an official at the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) told Itar-Tass.
"The transfer of each of the three satellites to the preset points of orbital plane will be effected by turning on their engines. It takes 45 days from the moment of launch to make the new units fully operational. They will function in circular orbits at altitudes 19,100 kilometers and inclination angle 64.8 degrees. One GLONASS-M satellite masses 1,415 kilograms. The term of active service life is seven years.
The purpose of the launch is to bring the cluster of the GLONASS satellites in orbit to the strength to ensure global coverage. At present, 23 satellites in the GLONASS system are in dedicated use, four are at the stage of integrating in the system, two are undergoing maintenance and one is in reserve.
The Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) is based on a constellation of active satellites which continuously transmit coded signals in two frequency bands, which can be received by users anywhere on the Earth's surface to identify their position and velocity in real time based on ranging measurements. The system rivals the United States Global Positioning System (GPS), with both systems sharing the same principles in the data transmission and positioning methods.
GLONASS is also used by the military in the interests of Russia's security.
To provide continuous navigation signal in the whole territory of Russia, it needs at least 18 operating satellites, while 24 units will provide coverage worldwide.
The development of the GLONASS began in 1976. It was completed 1995 but then became rundown after the collapse of the Soviet economy. In 2001, Russia decided to restore the system.