MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is planning to launch another Glonass-M navigation satellite into orbit on March 24, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
Glonass is Russia’s answer to the US Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses.
“March 24 has been determined as the most optimal date for Glonass-M launch,” said Col. Alexei Zolotukhin, a spokesman for Aerospace Defense Forces.
Zolotukhin said the satellite will be launched from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia on board the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket.
The new Glonass-M will augment a group of 28 Glonass satellites already in orbit. Twenty-four satellites are currently in operation, while three are spares and one is in test-flight phase.
The Glonass system requires at least 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services across the whole of Russia and 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.
By 2020, Russia plans to have 30 Glonass-M and new-generation Glonass-K satellites in orbit, including six in reserve, space officials have said.