Russia launches navigation satelliteMOSCOW - Russia on Monday successfully launched a satellite for its Glonass global navigation system from its Plesetsk cosmodrome, the country's space agency said.
"The Glonass-M spacecraft separated normally from the booster rocket at 15:57 Moscow time (1157 GMT) and was taken under control," the Roskosmos space agency said in a statement.
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The satellite on a Soyuz 2.1B booster rocket blasted off from the northern cosmodrome at 12:25 Moscow time (0825 GMT).
The launch means there are now 23 functioning Glonass satellites in orbit, Roskosmos said. The Glonass system aims to rival the United States' GPS system. In a surprising coup, it is used alongside GPS on the latest iPhone.
Launches of Glonass satellites are being closely followed after three of the craft, which would have completed the system, failed to reach orbit and crashed into the Pacific Ocean in December 2010 because of a problem with the booster rocket.
by Emmanuel Duparcq
© 2011 AFP
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