Russia set to launch Glonass-M satellite on Oct. 1

A Russian Soyuz-2.1B carrier rocket has been scheduled to lift off on October 1 to put another Glonass-M navigation satellite into orbit, a Space Forces spokesman said.

The launch has been postponed following two failed space launches in August which led to the loss of a Progress space freighter and the Express-AM4 communications satellite.

“A state commission has set the launch of a Glonass-M spacecraft on board a Soyuz-2.1B carrier rocket from the Plesetsk space center for October 1, 2011,” Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said on Thursday.

Russia lost three Glonass satellites last year when a Proton-M carrier rocket veered off course and crashed in the Pacific Ocean in December.

Glonass is Russia’s answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

Russia currently has a total of 27 Glonass satellites in orbit, although only 23 of them are operational.

The complete Glonass grouping must have 24 operational and 2-3 reserve satellites for the Glonass network to operate with global coverage.

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