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MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. A Fregat booster with a Glonass-M satellite separated from the third stage of a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket at the designated time in a normal regime, the press office of the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Sunday.
The carrier rocket was launched at 11:45 a.m. Moscow time (08:45 GMT) from site No. 43 of the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region in north Russia by an operational crew of the Russian Aerospace Force’s space troops.
"It will take several hours for the Fregat booster to bring the Glonass-M satellite into the designated orbit," the press office said.
This is the second launch of a Glonass-M satellite and the third launch of a Soyuz-2 medium-class carrier rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome this year.
The flight tests of the Soyuz-2 spacecraft began at the spaceport on November 8, 2004. Over the last 12 years, 27 launches of Soyuz-2 carrier rockets in their upgraded 1a, 1b and 1v modifications have been carried out at the Plesetsk space port.
The launch was initially scheduled for May 21. Nikolai Testoyedov, head of the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems Company that produces navigation satellites told journalists that the postponement of the launch of Glonass-M satellite No 53 was not related to its condition.
As Roscosmos State Corporation said earlier, up to eight satellites may join the Glonass system constellation by the end of 2017. Both Soyuz launch vehicles and Proton-M heavy carrier rockets may be used for the launches. A source in the space rocket industry told TASS that the launch of a Proton carrier rocket with three Glonass satellites may take place already before the end of 2016.
Glonass is Russia's satellite navigation system designed to provide Russia with its own navigation data for military and civilian use, as well as to compete with the US Global Positioning System (GPS) in the commercial market for navigation data.