GLONASS launches No. 53 to replenish constellation

May 31, 2016  - By

On May 29 a Soyuz-2.1b with upper stage Fregat and a GLONASS-M satellite (No. 53) successfully lifted off from Plesetsk Space Center. The satellite was placed into its preprogrammed orbit and registered by the facilities of the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre. Ground control established communications with it. The stable telemetry link shows that onboard satellite systems are functioning normally.

According to Russian officials, an unexpected issue with the Fregat upper stage caused it to burn longer than planned to inject the satellite into its planed orbit. No further details were provided.

The satellite is destined for a replenishment mission of the GLONASS constellation, currently at 25 operational satellites. Russian plans call for as many as eight satellites to be launched by the end of 2017 to replenish the  constellation. As part of that strategy, a Proton-M heavy carrier rocket with three GLONASS satellites aboard may take place by the end of this year.

Below is a video of the launch.

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About the Author:

Alan Cameron is editor-in-chief and publisher of GPS World magazine, where he has worked since 2000. He also writes the monthly GNSS Design & Test e-Newsletter and the Wide Awake blog.

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