Successful Glonass Launch Puts Russia Closer to Nominal Space Operations
[Satellite TODAY 11-07-11] The Russian government successfully launched with three Glonass-M satellites on a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, officials announced Nov. 4.
The three satellites represent the 43rd, 44th and 45th Kosmos Blok-45S spacecraft that are part of the Glonass fleet to support the Russian version of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), which can be used by both military and civilian end-users.
The launch was delayed from its original Oct. 30 date due to an unspecified technical issue. The Proton’s Breeze-M upper stage ran through four test burns prior to the mission in order to prevent a similar anomaly that resulted in the loss of the Ekspress-AM4 communications satellite in August. That failure also led to a setback for the ViaSat-1 launch, which was conducted by International Launch Services (ILS) on Oct. 19.
In a statement, Russian officials said that with the most recent successful launch and the upcoming manned Soyuz TMA launch later this month, the nation’s space program is close to a full return to nominal operations.