Russia to Launch New GLONASS-K Satellite in Late December

Moscow, December 14 (RIA Novosti) – A new-generation Russian Glonass-K satellite was delivered on Tuesday to the Plesetsk Space Center, where it will be launched later this month.

The satellite will be sent into orbit atop a modernized Soyuz-2.1.b rocket equipped with a new booster, the Fregat.

The Glonass-K, which has a service life of 10 years, will beam five navigation signals – four in the special L1 and L2 bands and one for civilian applications in the L3 band.

A Proton-M carrier rocket with three Glonass-M satellites veered off course and sunk in the Pacific Ocean on December 5.

The failure was attributed to the pumping of an excess 1.5-2 tons of fuel into the booster.

The satellites were supposed to finalize the creation of Russia’s Glonass Global Navigation Satellite System.

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

Russia currently has a total of 26 Glonass satellites in orbit, although only 20 of them are functional.