MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will launch a Proton carrier rocket with three additional satellites for its Glonass global positioning and navigation network on July 2, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.
“Three new Glonass satellites will be launched from the Baikonur space center on July 2,” Rogozin said at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday.
Rogozin said that the Glonass satellite grouping currently comprises 24 operational satellites, which ensures its global coverage. In addition, the satellite cluster includes four satellites in reserve and an advanced Glonass-K satellite in a testing phase.
The satellites scheduled for launch in July will replace the ones whose service life has expired, he added.
“Our key goal now is to ensure the demand for data provided by the satellites,” Rogozin said. “We can achieve this goal by involving other countries, for example India.”
Glonass is Russia’s answer to the US Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use.
The GLONASS satellite constellation, which was initially completed in 1995, suffered from insufficient financing that eventually caused gaps in coverage. But a renewed commitment to the system saw full global coverage restored by 2011.
By 2020, Russia plans to have 30 satellites in orbit, including six in reserve. The new-generation Glonass-Ks will eventually replace the outdated satellites in orbit.