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Russian postpones launch of GLONASS-K satellite


GLONASS-K navigation satellite.

MOSCOW (BNS): 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 Dec 28.

"Preparations have not been completed for the ground complex to navigate the GLONASS-K spacecraft," a statement from the ministry said Tuesday," according to a RIA Novosti news report.

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

The light-weight GLONASS-K series of satellites, with unpressurised design and having a lifespan of 10-12 years, are slated to gradually replace the GLONASS-Ms.

Russia has a total of 26 GLONASS satellites in orbit, but only 20 are functional.

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