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Russia launches 3 GLONASS navigation satellites

Russia is enlarging its orbital grouping with the recent launch of three spacecraft of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS). Russia has launched a Proton-K carrier rocket with three satellites from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. The trio includes one spacecraft of an old make (three-year service life) and two satellites of the new modification GLONASS-M with better specifications and a service life of seven years. Under the federal space program approved by the government, the GLONASS satellite group will be expanded to at least 18 satellites by 2007. Currently, the system includes 14 satellites in orbit. The main purpose of the GLONASS network is to provide global positioning services for various military and civilian customers. GLONASS satellites incessantly transmit information on exact coordinates of air, sea, land and space objects.