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Russia adds to GLONASS constellation with latest launch

October 26, 2020  - By

Russia launched a new-generation Glonass-K satellite, number 15, into orbit Oct. 25. Unlike its Glonass-M predecessors, Glonass-K satellites carry two types of navigation signals — frequency-separated and code-separated. The satellites emit additional code-division L2 navigation signals.

In addition to their main functions, Glonass-K satellites will transmit information from the Cospas-Sarsat international search-and-rescue system. Additional Glonass-K satellites are in production at ISS Reshetnev, all with a domestic electronic component base.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces (VKS) Space Forces launched the satellite aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region. The launch of the carrier rocket and the maneuvering of the spacecraft into the orbit took place under normal operating conditions, according to Roscosmos.

Two minutes after the launch, the ground-based automated control complex of the Titov Main Testing Space Center acquired the Soyuz-2. On schedule, the Glonass-K satellite was injected into the target orbit by the Fregat upper stage and taken over by the ground-based facilities of the VKS Space Forces.

Photo: Roscosmos

Photo: Roscosmos

A stable telemetric connection has been established and maintained with spacecraft. The onboard systems of the Glonass-K spacecraft are operating normally.

GLONASS consists of 28 spacecraft, with 24 active, two in reserve, and one Glonass-K undergoing flight tests. Another spacecraft is temporarily out for maintenance.

Glonass-M satellites form the basis of the system’s orbital grouping. 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.

According to Roscosmos, Glonass-K spacecraft are constructed in an unpressurized design, have a guaranteed period of active existence in orbit increased to 10 years, reduced energy consumption, and significantly lower weight.

Photo: Roscosmos

Photo: Roscosmos

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.