March 24, 2014

A Russian Soyuz rocket launched a Glonass navigation satellite into orbit early Monday morning from northwestern Russia, a spokesperson for the country’s aerospace defense forces said.

The Soyuz-2.1b took off at 2:54 a.m. Moscow time from the country’s northern Plesetsk space center, inserting a Glonass-M satellite into orbit where it is now functioning normally, Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin said.

Russia’s space-based Glonass navigation system, with over two dozen satellites currently in orbit, provides global high-precision coverage for military and civilian devices, including smartphones such as the latest Apple iPhones.

The launch was the third of a Glonass satellite from Plesetsk, most prior satellites having been launched aboard Proton rockets from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur space center.

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