A Russian Proton-M rocket was launched into space Thursday with three new satellites for Moscow’s GLONASS navigation system, aimed at competing with US and European systems, a report said. The satellites were placed into orbit after the rocket blasted off from Russia’s Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan at 1043 GMT, a Russian space agency spokesman said, according to Interfax news agency.
The 1.4-tonne satellites join 17 others that are part of the GLONASS system, which Russia aims to finish next year. When completed, it will have a total of 24 satellites. GLONASS was developed by the Russian military in the 1980s to compete with the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and Europe’s Galileo.