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Proton launches navigation satellites
Posted: Mon, Dec 14, 2009, 1:55 PM ET (1855 GMT)
Proton M launch of GLONASS satellites Dec 09 (Roskosmos) A Proton rocket launched three GLONASS navigation satellites early Monday. The Proton M lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:38 am EST (1038 GMT) and placed the three GLONASS satellites into medium Earth orbits about three and a half hours later. The three spacecraft will permit the system to maintain at least 18 active satellites, enough to provide navigation coverage for Russia; global coverage requires 24 satellites. Russia has slowly been reconstituting the GLONASS system, similar to America's GPS system, since financial problems in the 1990s caused the system to fall into disrepair.
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