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Proton launches GLONASS satellites
Posted: Wed, Dec 26, 2007, 10:59 AM ET (1559 GMT)
GLONASS spacecraft illustration (NPO PM) A Proton rocket placed three GLONASS navigation satellites in orbit, part of Russia's continuing effort to repopulate its satellite navigation system. The Proton-M rocket, using a Block-DM upper stage, lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome Kazakhstan at 2:42 pm EST (1942 GMT) Tuesday and placed the three GLONASS-M satellites into orbit. The satellite join 15 other operational satellites in the GLONASS system, the Russian version of the US GPS constellation, include three launched in October. The launches are part of an effort by Russia to rebuild GLONASS, which fell into disrepair after the fall of the Soviet Union, and turn it into a global competitor with GPS and other planned satellite navigation systems. Russia anticipates have a full constellation of 24 satellites in operation by 2009.
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