Another next-generation satellite joins Glonass network

A next-generation Glonass-K navigation satellite has successfully separated from the Fregat upper stage and reached the final orbit, Russian Aerospace Defense Forces spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin told Interfax-AVN.

A next-generation Glonass-K navigation satellite has successfully separated from the Fregat upper stage and reached the final orbit, Russian Aerospace Defense Forces spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin told Interfax-AVN.

"The Glonass-K satellite has normally separated from the upper stage. The Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Center took control of the satellite after it had reached the final orbit," Zolotukhin said.

Telemetry data transfer is stable and every system of the satellite is operating normally, he said.

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket coupled with a Fregat upper stage and the Glonass-K satellite blasted off from the Plesetsk space center at 00:52 a.m. Moscow time on Monday.

Glonass-K, a product of Krasnoyarsk-based Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems, is a third-generation navigation satellite. Glonass-K vehicles will eventually replace Glonass-M satellites, which currently make up the Russian navigation satellite cluster Glonass.

This is the second satellite of the series put into orbit. The experimental launch was done in February 2011. The satellite will have a service life of ten years.

In the opinion of experts, the new satellites will significantly improve precision of Russia's Glonass network, which will thereby near precision parameters of the U.S. GPS system.

Soyuz-2.1b is a medium-lift three-stage liquid-fuel launch vehicle built by Samara CSKB-Progress through profound modernization of the Soyuz-U rocket.

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