Russia Launches Proton-M Carrier Rocket with 3 GLONASS Satellites

Moscow, March 2 – A Proton M carrier rocket bearing three GLONASS satellites has been launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on early Tuesday, a spokesman for the Space Forces said.

"A Proton-M carrier rocket with three GLONASS satellites was successfully launched from a launching pad at the Baikonur space center on March 2 at 0:19 Moscow time [22:19 GMT, March 1], Alexei Zolotukhin said.

GLONASS – the Global Navigation Satellite System – is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

Russia currently has a total of 22 GLONASS satellites in orbit, but only 16 of them are operational. The system requires 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of Russia and at least 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.