Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket with three Glonass-M navigation satellites will be launched on Thursday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, a spokesman for the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) said.
“The launch is scheduled for 16:55 Moscow time [12:55 GMT]. The separation of the satellites is slated for 22:45 Moscow time [18:45 GMT],” the spokesman said.
By the end of the month Russia plans to put another Glonass-M satellite into orbit. It will be delivered by a Soyuz 2.1b launch vehicle from Russia’s Plesetsk space center.
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 28 Glonass satellites in orbit, although only 20 of them are operational.
According to the Russian Federal Space Agency, five Glonass satellites are under maintenance, one is on a standby, and two recently launched satellites are being integrated into the grouping.
The complete Glonass grouping needs 24 functioning and 2-3 reserve satellites to operate with global coverage.