Plesetsk, Russia: Russia successfully launched another GLONASS satellite on 3rd October 2011. The latest launch brings the total number of satellites in the GLONASS satellite navigation system to 24 and also improves its accuracy to 5 metres.
The Soyuz-2.1B carrier rocket with the Glonass-M navigation satellite was launched on early Monday from the Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia, Space Forces spokesman Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin said.
The launch was initially scheduled for Saturday, but it was postponed since the wind force exceeded the characteristics, allowed at the altitude of 7-10 kilometres.
Glonass is Russia’s answer to the US Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few metres.
Previous versions of GLONASS had an accuracy within 50 metres.
The Russian aerospace industry has faced a series of misfortunes over the last nine months, including the loss of three GLONASS satellites, a prized Express-AM4 satellite and the fall of the Progress M-12M cargo in south Siberia’s Altai Republic.
The loss of GLONASS satellites alone cost the state 4.3 billion rubles (USD 152.2 million).
Source: Ria Novosti