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Russian Aerospace Forces successfully launch Soyuz-2 carrier rocket from Plesetsk cosmodrome

October 26, 2020

On October 25, 2020, the combat crew of the Aerospace Forces (VKS) Space Forces launched a Soyuz-2 medium-class launch vehicle with a new generation GLONASS spacecraft from the State Test Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation (Plesetsk cosmodrome) in the Arkhangelsk region. The launch of the carrier rocket and the maneuvering of the spacecraft into the orbit took place under normal operating conditions. Two minutes after the launch, the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle was acquired by means of the ground-based automated control complex of the Titov Main Testing Space Center.

At the expected time, the Glonass-K spacecraft was injected into the target orbit by the Fregat upper stage and taken over by the ground-based facilities of the VKS Space Forces. A stable telemetric connection has been established and maintained with spacecraft. The onboard systems of the Glonass-K spacecraft are operating normally.

The spacecraft launched into orbit has joined the orbital grouping of the Russian Global navigation satellite system GLONASS. Currently, the orbital group consists of 28 spacecraft, of which 24 are used for their intended purpose, two spacecraft are in the orbital reserve, and one new-generation Glonass-K spacecraft is undergoing flight tests. Another spacecraft is temporarily put out for maintenance.

Today, the Glonass-M spacecraft, which demonstrate high reliability, form the basis of the system's orbital grouping. Replacing the orbital constellation with Glonass-K spacecraft will ensure the stable operation of the Russian navigation system and increase the accuracy of its navigation determinations up to tens of centimeters.

Glonass-K spacecraft are constructed in an unpressurized design, have a guaranteed period of active existence in orbit increased to 10 years, reduced energy consumption, and significantly lower weight.

Unlike its predecessors, Glonass-K carries two types of navigation signals – frequency-separated and code-separated. In addition to their main functions, they will transmit information from the COSPAS-SARSAT international search and rescue system.