Next satellite covering demands of Glonass navigation system was launched successfully from Plesetsk Cosmodrome today at 00:21 GMT.

Tendency of developing own navigation systems could be spotted with ease. Roscosmos have just launched Soyuz-2.1B with new Glonass-M n°56 on atop which will be next element of Glonass, Russian navigation system developed by Russian Aerospace Defence Forces since 1976.

Glonass-M (Uragan-M) satellite has main improvement comparing to previous generations – it is lifespan. First generations were known from their short operational life which was limited to three years. Glonass-M is able to remain operational at least seven years, which is big improvement and means that costs of preserving Glonass will be reduced. Glonass-M satellite weighs 1415 kg and will be placed on orbit 19100 km × 19100 km with inclination at 64.8°, but there is no still official confirmation of correct injection of the satellite into orbit by Fregat-M upper stage. Manufacturer of Glonass-M, NPO Prikladnoi Mekhaniki (NPO PM), equipped satellite in 3 axis stabilization system and two deployable solar arrays which are providing together with onboard battery (NiH2) 1250 W of power. Navigation equipment includes 3 Cesium clocks, L band transmitters providing navigation signal in 25 channels and L2SF
Space Laser Ranging. Transmitters are providing emission with 0.5625 MHz intervals on two frequencies: first in range of 1602.5625 – 1615.5 MHz and second 1240 – 1260 MHz, both with equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) in range of 25-27 dBW.

Roscosmos utilized during this mission proven Soyuz-2.1B rocket with origins in late fifties (R-7 missile was direct predecessor). Soyuz-2.1b was equipped in Fregat-M upper stage. It is classic liquid fueled (LOX/Kerosene) rocket with four strap-on boosters. Rocket length is 46 m with mass at 308000 kg. Each booster is equipped with single RD-107A with thrust at 838.5 kN and burns 44413 kg of propellant. Boosters are considered sometimes as first stage of Soyuz-2.1B; first core stage is powered by one RD-108A with thrust at 792.5 kN and fueled with 90100 kg of propellant. Third stage is equipped in one RD-0124 generating thrust at 297.9 kN and fueled with 25400 kg of propellant. For final injecting into orbit Roscosmos is using Fregat-M upper stage. It weighs 902 kg and takes 6638 kg of N2O4/UDMH propellant for one S5.92 engine which gives 19.85 kN of thrust. GTO payload capacity with Fregat-M upper stage is 3250 kg.