Russia Launches 3 GLONASS Satellites

Moscow – October 26, 2007 – An unmanned rocket carrying three Russian GLONASS navigation satellites took off from the Russian cosmodrome at Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Friday, news agencies reported.

The Proton-K booster rocket blasted off at 11:35 a.m. Moscow time (3:35 a.m. EDT) and entered low-earth orbit eight minutes later, a Russian Space Forces spokesman said, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

Kazakhstan suspended Proton launches in September after a similar booster filled with highly toxic heptyl fuel plunged into open countryside near the industrial city of Zhezkazgan a few minutes after take-off.

Russia rents Baikonur, established in the 1950s by Soviet scientists, under a long-term contract with Kazakhstan.

Russia’s GLONASS system, which uses Soviet Cold War-era military technology, is designed to compete with the Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is being jointly developed with India.

GLONASS satellite launches had been put on hold after September’s rocket failure.