MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and a GLONASS-K new-generation navigation satellite has been launched from the Plesetsk space center in Russia’s northwestern Arkhangelsk Region, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexey Zolotukhin said Monday.
“The carrier rocket was launched in a normal mode,” Zolotukhin said.
The separation of the GLONASS-K satellite from the Fregat upper stage is expected to take place at 04:25 a.m. Moscow Time (01:25 a.m. UTC) in the radio visibility zone of the Aerospace Defense Forces Space Command’s ground automated control system, he said.
This is the fifth launch of a GLONASS satellite from the Plesetsk launch pad. The first launch of a satellite of Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS, Russia’s equivalent of the US Global Positioning System, GPS) from Plesetsk took place February 26, 2011.
Earlier, all GLONASS satellite launches had been made from the Baikonur space center Russia leases from Kazakhstan with the help of Proton-M carrier rockets.