Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) launched a Soyuz-2 medium-class carrier rocket carrying a new generation GLONASS-K satellite on Oct. 25.
The rocket lifted off from Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region at 22:08 hours. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the launch of the carrier rocket and the insertion of the spacecraft into the calculated orbit took place in the normal mode.
Two minutes after the launch, the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle was taken for escort by means of the ground-based automated control complex of the German Titov Main Testing Space Center. At the estimated time, the “Glonass-K” spacecraft was launched into the target orbit by the “Fregat” upper stage and taken over for control of ground assets of the Aerospace Forces.
A stable telemetric connection has been established and maintained with the spacecraft. The onboard systems of the Glonass-K spacecraft are operating normally.
The spacecraft launched into orbit has joined the orbital constellation of the Russian GLONASS Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Currently, the orbital constellation includes 28 spacecraft, of which 24 are used for their intended purpose, two spacecraft are in the orbital reserve, one new-generation spacecraft “Glonass-K” is undergoing flight tests. Another spacecraft is temporarily taken out for maintenance.
Today, the basis of the orbital constellation of the system is made up of Glonass-M spacecraft, which demonstrate high reliability. Replacing the orbital constellation with Glonass-K spacecraft will ensure the stable operation of the Russian navigation system and increase the accuracy of its navigation determinations up to tens of centimeters.
Spacecraft “Glonass-K” are designed with the lifetime in orbit increased to 10 years, reduced power consumption, and significantly less weight.
Unlike its predecessors, “Glonass-K” carry two types of navigation signals – frequency division and code division. In addition to their main functions, they will transmit information to the COSPAS-SARSAT international search and rescue system in distress.