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PARIS, October 13 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian upper stage rocket Frigate-MT has orbited successfully two satellites of the European global navigation system Galileo. The satellites separated at 02:00 Moscow time on Saturday from the upper stage rocket, a source in the French National Centre of Space Research told Itar-Tass.
The Russian booster Soyuz-ST-B with the European Space Agency satellites IOV-2 FM3 and FM4 with a weight of 700 kilograms each was launched from the spaceport in French Guiana on Friday evening. The launch was made at 15:15 local time (22:15 Moscow time). The upper stage rocket Frigate-MT, which the Lavochkin research-and-production centre had developed, orbited the satellites. Within a few hours the satellites will be put on the design low earth orbit with an altitude of 23,200 kilometres and an inclination of 55.4 degrees.
The satellites will join the grouping of the satellites IOV-1 PFM and FM2, which the Soyuz booster launched a year before. All of them are designed for the European global navigation system Galileo, which is a counterpart of Russia’s GLONASS and the US global positioning system GPS. Thus, after the Saturday launch the numerical strength of the Galileo orbital grouping will reach four satellites. This will make it possible for European specialists to launch the active testing of the satellites.