Three GLONASS Satellites to Launch October 25th
Three GLONASS satellites are scheduled for launch October 25, from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, the Russian News and Information Agency reported today. The news service said the information came from the system's manufacturer.
The Russian navigation satellites are to be launched on a Proton-M rocket. This is the same type of rocket that crashed on September 6th, with a Japanese satellite onboard. In the last launch, the rocket's engine malfunctioned about two minutes into flight and crashed near the town of Zhezkazgan.
GLONASS is intended as an alternative to the U.S.-operated Global Positioning System (GPS). The program was originally begun by the Soviet Union. With the breakup of the U.S.S.R., the project floundered, but was restarted when Russian President Putin took an interest. Russia has budgeted 9.88 billion rubles ($380 million) for the program this year.