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Russia further delays GLONASS-K satellite launch


MOSCOW (PTI): Russia has postponed the launch of its next generation navigation satellite as the take off facilities and pre-launch trial services are not yet ready.

"The launch of the new generation Glonass-K satellite has been postponed till the end of next month," Interfax reported quoting sources in the space industry.

In the wake of last month's loss of three navigation satellites during launch, Russia was to launch Glonass-K with a minimum ten year life span on December 28, but had postponed it till February 15 as the launch facilities and pre-launch trial services were not ready at Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Archangel region in the north of the country.

"Now it has been tentatively moved to February 25," the agency reported.

The loss of three satellites due to excess fuel in the booster stage was a big blow to Kremlin's plans to fully operationalise GLONASS, the national global positioning system – a rival of the Pentagon controlled NAVSTAR GPS – by the end of 2010.

President Dmitry Medvedev had sacked two senior space industry officials and had reprimanded Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) Chief Anatoly Perminov for the failed launch.

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