Russia postpones launch of Glonass-K

Russia has postponed the launch of its new-generation navigation satellite Glonass-K until 2011.

Moscow: Russia has postponed the launch of its new-generation navigation satellite Glonass-K until 2011, the defence ministry said.

The satellite atop a Soyuz-2.1.b carrier rocket was to blast off from the Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia December 28.

"Preparations have not been completed for the ground complex to navigate the Glonass-K spacecraft," a statement from the ministry said Tuesday.

Glonass is Russia`s answer to the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and is designed for both military and civilian uses.

The Glonass-K, which has a service life of 10 years, will beam five navigation signals -- four in the special L1 and L2 bands and one for civilian applications in the L3 band.

A Proton-M carrier rocket with three Glonass-M satellites veered off course and sank in the Pacific Ocean Dec 5. The failure was attributed to a series of manufacturing mistakes.

The satellites were supposed to finalise the creation of Russia`s Glonass Global Navigation Satellite System.

Russia currently has a total of 26 Glonass satellites in orbit, although only 20 of them are functional.

IANS

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