MOSCOW, December 25 (Sputnik) – Russia has launched a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with a communications satellite from the Plesetsk space center located in the north of the country, the Defense Ministry's spokesperson told RIA Novosti Thursday.
"On Thursday, December 25, 2014, at 06:01 a.m. Moscow time [03:01 GMT]…a successful launch of a medium-class space rocket "Soyuz-2.1b" was carried out," Col. Alexei Zolotukhin, a spokesman for Russia's Aerospace Defense Forces said.
Minutes later, Zolotukhin informed RIA Novosti that the satellite had been successfully put into orbit and all of its functions were in the normal range.
This was the sixth Soyuz-2.1b rocket launch carried out by Russia in 2014.
On December 1, the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket put into orbit the new-generation Russian navigation satellite Glonass-K.
The satellite was also launched from the Plesetsk space center, which has been the site of Russia's GLONASS satellite launches since February 26, 2011, when the first new-generation GLONASS-K spacecraft was put into orbit by the Soyuz 2.1 medium-class carrier rocket.
GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), which was launched in 1993, is considered to be Russia's answer to the American Global Positioning System (GPS).
There are currently 24 operational GLONASS satellites in orbit. The network provides real-time positioning and speed data for surface, sea and airborne objects around the globe.