Proton rocket with GLONASS satellites to be launched this Fri.
A Proton-M rocket, which for the first time will carry three GLONASS satellites with a Briz-M upper stage to orbit, will be launched from Baikonur this Friday.
The launch is planned for 16:51 Moscow time, a Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) source told Itar-Tass.
It was originally planned for November 3, but a few hours before the blastoff, it was postponed till the reserve date due to technical reasons.
The used stages of the rocket are expected to fall in the Karaganda region, Kazakhstan (the first), the Republic of Altai, Tyva and Khakassia, Russia (the second and the head one) and in the Pacific (the third), Roscosmos said.
In 580 seconds after the liftoff, the orbital unit of the upper stage and the satellites will separate from the launch vehicle. The satellites will be orbited with the upper stage with four starts of its engines, the agency source said. The satellites are expected to be put into the planned orbit at an altitude of 19.100 km at 22:41 Moscow time.
The launch will be carried out with the aim to add the satellites to the GLONASS global navigation system to ensure the continuity of the navigation signal on the global scale.
According to the Central Scientific Research Machine-Building Institute, 27 satellites are in the orbital group as of November 3. Twenty three of them are used for the purpose, one is in the phase of joining to the system, two are put out of operation for technical maintenance, and one is in orbital reserve.
At least 18 working satellites are needed for the GLONASS system navigation signal to be received continuously all over Russia's territory, and on the global scale, there must be 24.