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    Launch of new Russian navigation satellite postponed to next year

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    The launch of Russia's new-generation Glonass-K satellite has been postponed until 2011, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

    The launch of Russia's new-generation Glonass-K satellite has been postponed until 2011, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

    The satellite atop a Soyuz-2.1.b carrier rocket was to blast off from the Plesetsk Space Center on December 28.

    "Preparations have not been completed for the ground complex to navigate the Glonass-K spacecraft," the ministry's statement said.

    The Glonass-K, which has a service life of 10 years, will beam five navigation signals - four in the special L1 and L2 bands and one for civilian applications in the L3 band.

    A Proton-M carrier rocket with three Glonass-M satellites veered off course and sunk in the Pacific Ocean on December 5.

    The failure was attributed to a series of manufacturing mistakes.

    The satellites were supposed to finalize the creation of Russia's Glonass Global Navigation Satellite System.

    Glonass is Russia's answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

    Russia currently has a total of 26 Glonass satellites in orbit, although only 20 of them are functional.

    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti)

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