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Russia releases Glonass navigation satellite

Russia releases Glonass navigation satellite
A Soyuz-2.1b rocket lifts off Saturday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome with a Glonass K navigation satellite. Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense A Soyuz booster and Fregat upper stage successfully delivered an upgraded Russian Glonass navigation satellite to an orbit nearly 12,000 miles above Earth on Saturday. The new satellite joins 24 active navigation spacecraft in…
A Soyuz-2.1 b rocket takes off Saturday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome with a Glonass K navigation satellite. Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense

A Soyuz booster and Fregat upper stage successfully provided an upgraded Russian Glonass navigation satellite to an orbit almost 12,000 miles above Earth on Saturday.

The brand-new satellite joins 24 active navigation spacecraft in the Glonass fleet, Russia’s analog to the U.S. military’s International Positioning System.

The mission removed at 3: 08: 42 p.m. EDT (1908: 42 GMT) Saturday aboard a Russian Soyuz-2.1 b rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, a military-run launch base around 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of Moscow, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Liftoff occurred at 10: 08 p.m. Moscow time.

Heading southeast from Plesetsk, the Soyuz rocket shed its 4 kerosene-fueled boosters around two minutes after liftoff, then rejected the aerodynamic shroud covering the Glonass satellite after reaching space. The Soyuz core stage shut down and separated around 5 minutes into the mission, followed by ignition of the third stage’s RD-0124 engine.

The third phase engine cut off about 9 minutes after liftoff, and the objective’s Fregat upper stage deployed to begin a series of maneuvers to put the Glonass satellite its targeted orbit.

The Fregat engine fired up 3 times to place the Glonass payload into a circular orbit with an altitude of more than 11,900 miles (19,100 kilometers) and a disposition of 64.8 degrees. The Fregat upper stage released the Glonass spacecraft around three-and-a-half hours after liftoff.

Artist’s illustration of a Glonass K satellite. Credit: ISS Reshetnev

Russian officials said the Glonass satellite extended its solar panels, and ground groups communicated with the spacecraft. All systems on-board the satellite were operating usually after launch Saturday, officials stated.

The payload launched Saturday is the 3rd spacecraft in Russia’s Glonass K series of navigation satellites, which engineers designed to last longer and transmit more navigation signals. The first 2 Glonass K satellites released in 2011 and 2014.

The Glonass K satellites weigh around 2,060 pounds, or 935 kgs, somewhat less than the earlier generation Glonass M satellites.

The Glonass K satellite is expected to operate for 10 years– an improvement from the seven-year design life of previous satellites– and includes 5 navigation channels, including a brand-new civilian L-band signal. The new craft are lighter, produce more electrical power, and are based upon an unpressurized Express 1000 K bus developed by ISS Reshetnev in Zheleznogorsk, Russia.

The Glonass K spacecraft will also support the international Cospas-Sarsat search and rescue network, Russian authorities said.

The satellite introduced Saturday likewise uses more Russian-built devices than previous Glonass spacecraft, a change presented to the Glonass K design due to international sanctions on Russia.

” Changing the orbital constellation with Glonass K spacecraft will make sure the stable operation of the Russian navigation system and increase the accuracy of its navigation determinations up to 10s of centimeters,” the Russian Defense Ministry stated in a declaration.

Since Monday, the Glonass fleet consists of 24 active satellites, plus the brand-new spacecraft introduced Saturday, and three more operating as an extra, undergoing maintenance, and performing battle tests. The network, which is run by the Russian military but also used by civilians worldwide, needs 24 satellites in service spread amongst three orbital airplanes to provide global navigation protection.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was anticipated to call the brand-new Glonass satellite Kosmos 2547, keeping with the naming plan for Russian military spacecraft.

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