MOSCOW, November 3 (Itar-Tass) —— The launch of a booster Proton-M with three satellites of the GLONASS global navigation system was delayed for a day over technical reasons, a source in the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
On Thursday, the Baikonur spaceport was to launch the booster Proton-M, which will put into orbit three satellites of the GLONASS global navigation system by the upper stage rocket Briz-M.
The orbiting of the satellites should bring the GLONASS satellite grouping to the number, which will provide for the global continuous navigation signal. The Machine-Building Research Institute reported that “the orbital grouping had 27 satellites, 23 of which were used for their designation, one satellite was at the stage of putting into operation and two satellites were suspended for technical maintenance and one satellite was in the orbital standby” as of November 3.
To make the GLONASS navigation signal continuous on the whole territory of Russia at least 18 operational satellites are needed and 24 satellites on the global scale.
The GLONASS satellites will be put on the orbits in three fields separated 120 degrees from each other with eight satellites in each field. The satellite Glonass-M weighs 1,415 kilograms. The active service life of the satellite is seven years.
The GLONASS global navigation system is designed to form the nonstop navigation signal in order to find highly accurate coordinates and the speed of any moving objects equipped with the GLONASS receivers. GLONASS also provides for the solution to the tasks for Russian security.
In 2003 the upper stage rocket Briz-M was used only once to orbit the GLONASS satellites, but then Briz-M was attached to the launch vehicle Proton-K. The upper stage rocket DM was fixed to the booster Proton-M in other group launches of the navigation satellites from the Baikonur spaceport. However, after the mistake over fuelling the upper stage rocket DM with the rocket fuel on December 5, 2010 a major space disaster occurred and three navigation satellites were lost. Several Russian agencies suspended this upper stage rocket designed and produced by the Russian aerospace corporation Energia. However, corporation chief Vitaly Lopota believes that “the upper stage rocket DM has the longest flight history, as it was produced for the lunar program with the best developments introduced in it.”
The Khrunichev State Space Research Centre developed and produced the booster Proton-M and the upper stage rocket Briz-M.