Russia Launches Three New GLONASS Satellites From Kazakhstan
November 3, 2007 7:41 PM
Russia is working diligently to patch its GLOSNASS system, with launches from Kazakhstan. Very nice!
Russia's GLONASS system just got a boost with the
launch of three new satellites
aboard a Proton-K booster rocket, last Friday. The satellites successfully reached low-earth orbit eight minutes after launch.
GLONASS, for the unfamiliar, is
of the Global Positioning System (GPS) commonly used in the U.S. In English the words that make up the acronym roughly are translated to "
The European Union anticipates the success of a separate system, called the Galileo Network. However
, the system has yet to fully be implemented.
The technology developed during the Cold War went into operation in 1982, was completed in 1985, but fell into disrepair, following the collapse of Russia's communist regime.
Still the Russian government has been
making legitimate attempts to restore
the aging system, as reported on earlier this year at
. The constellation initiated its first public broadcast of May this year.
The Indian government pledged support for the GLONASS system in 2004, but the country have yet to launch any satellites.
The U.S. and Russian governments have also been in talks about making the GPS and GLOSNASS networks interoperable and compatible. The U.S. and European Union have
struck a similar deal as well
The satellite launch last week occurred, not in Russia, but in Kazakhstan, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Russia rents the facility and the right to launch from Kazakhstan, under a long term contract.
The launch was significant as it was the first Russian launch from the facility since September. Kazakhstan had temporarily banned launches, following a failure in which the Russian launch of another Proton rocket ended in failure. This failed launch sent the Proton booster, full of highly toxic heptyl fuel, plunging into the countryside by the industrial city of Zhezkazgan.
The effects of this incident on the local populous have yet to be fully determined, but launches have resumed with extra precautions. Russia has relied heavily on launches of GLOSNASS satellites from the Baikonur location, in its efforts to repair the network.
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