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Proton launches Glonass satellites
Posted: Thu, Sep 2, 2010, 9:30 AM ET (1330 GMT)
Proton launch of Glonass satellites on 2010 Sep 2 (Khrunichev) A Proton rocket placed three Glonass satellites into orbit on Thursday, bringing the satellite navigation system nearly to full operation. The Proton-M rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 8:53 pm EDT Wednesday (0053 GMT, 4:53 am Moscow time Thursday); its payload of three Glonass satellite separated from the booster's upper stage about three and a half hours later. Two of the satellites will join the operational Glonass constellation while the third will serve as an on-orbit spare. Once those satellites enter service the Glonass system will have 23 operational satellites, one short of the minimum required to provide global coverage. Up to six more Glonass satellites will be launched later this year on two Proton missions.
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