GLONASS gains 3 satellites
On 14 December, a Proton rocket launched 3 GLONASS satellites in the hope that the constellation will provide coverage over the entire Russian territo
The launch took place at 1038 GMT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The 3 satellites were placed in a temporary parking orbit less than 10 minutes after liftoff and by 1400 GMT were in their 12,000-mile circular orbit with an inclination of 64.8°.
Each of the 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) satellites is designed for a 7-year operating life.
Before this launch, the constellation comprised 19 satellites - but one is being decommissioned and 2 are on maintenance. This launch should ensure coverage over Russian territory, requiring 18 spacecraft. Global service needs 24.
It had been planned to launch 6 GLONASS satellites in 2 launches in 2009, but September's launch was postponed for technical reasons - this launch is now scheduled for February.