GLONASS M Navigation Triplets Launched Successfully by Proton M
A Proton M launch vehicle has successfully delivered to orbit three Russian navigation satellites to supplement the GLONASS M constellation.
The lift-off of the launcher took place today at 04:53:50 MSK.
The Proton Stage 3 and the Orbiter (i.e., the Upper Stage carrying the three spacecraft) separated at the predicted time for the Orbiter to continue its independent flight. Subsequently, a DM Upper Stage boosted the Orbiter to the target orbit. The triplets separated from DM at 08:26 MSK.
The Proton M launch vehicle is developed and designed and has been manufactured for a number of years by the Khrunichev State-run Space Research and Production Center.
In 2010, the above event is an eighth Proton mission and a second one to launch GLONASS satellites. (GLONASS stands for the Global Navigation Satellite System.) GLONASS M triplets were successfully launched for the first time this year on March 2.
Additionally, this is a tenth 2010 spacecraft launch using one of the Khrunichev-built launchers, which include the Proton, Kosmos 3M and Rockot families. The ten missions have resulted in a successful placement of 14 domestic or foreign spacecraft in orbit.
The next Proton mission scheduled for October 14 is to launch SIRIUS XM5, a U.S. communications satellite.