Spaceflight Now Home

Spaceflight Now +

Premium video content for our Spaceflight Now Plus subscribers.

STS-104: ISS airlock
Space shuttle Atlantis' STS-104 mission in July 2001 delivered the $164 million Joint Airlock to the International Space Station. The module, named Quest, gave the outpost a new doorway for American and Russian spacewalks. The five Atlantis astronauts narrate the highlights of their mission in this post-flight film.

 Full Coverage

Astronaut practice
The space shuttle Discovery astronauts visit Kennedy Space Center for a practice countdown and emergency training drills. Watch some highlights from the activities.

 Full Coverage

GPS 2R-16 launch
The Boeing Delta 2 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Nov. 17 on another mission to replenish the satellite constellation for the Global Positioning System.

 Full Coverage

Discovery on the pad
The space shuttle Discovery is rolled to pad 39B for the STS-116 launch to the space station.

 Full Coverage

Joining tank and SRBs
The space shuttle Discovery is hoisted high into the Vehicle Assembly Building and mated with its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters.

 Hoisted | Attached

Discovery moves to VAB
Space shuttle Discovery makes an evening move October 31 from its processing hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building for mating with an external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters in preparation for the STS-116 mission.


Final Hubble servicing
The objectives of the just-approved final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission are detailed and the anticipated science from the new instruments to be installed are detailed in this briefing from Goddard Space Flight Center.

 Full Coverage

Meet Hubble astronauts
The crew for the final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission will be led by Scott Altman, with pilot Greg C. Johnson, robot arm operator Megan McArthur and spacewalkers Andrew Feustel, Mike Good, John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino. The astronauts meet the press in this news briefing from Johnson Space Center.

 Full Coverage

Become a subscriber
More video

Russia launches trio of navigation satellites

Posted: December 25, 2006

The latest additions to Russia's indigenous satellite navigation system successfully arrived in orbit Monday after a nearly four-hour ride aboard a Proton rocket.

Three 3,000-pound satellites were packaged atop the Proton launcher. The Christmas delivery was right on target, and the rocket reached the correct orbit about 12,000 miles high with an inclination of around 64.8 degrees.

Liftoff of the Proton K rocket was at 2018 GMT (3:18 p.m. EST) from Complex 81 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The booster included a Block DM upper stage that conducted two burns to deliver the satellite trio into the proper orbit.

The three spacecraft are upgraded members of Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System, the nation's counterpart to the U.S. Global Positioning System.

The Glonass M satellites are designed to operate for up to seven years, an improvement over earlier Glonass craft that could only last three years in space.

Upgraded Glonass spacecraft also feature a second civilian navigation channel and increased accuracy for both military and private users. After the satellites are pressed into service, they will provide horizontal and vertical positioning data within about 200 feet to worldwide users, according to the Russian Space Agency.

Glonass satellites also allow users to determine velocity and their exact time, according to the Itar-Tass news agency.

The Glonass fleet currently consists of 11 operational spacecraft, with five more at least temporarily switched off, according to an online status report. Those tallies do not include the satellites launched Monday.

When fully deployed, the constellation is designed to operate in three orbital planes, each with eight satellites. The system now fills two planes, but a third remains empty, according to a Russian Space Agency Web site.

Russian officials are planning more Glonass launches in 2007 and 2008 to fill the gaps in the fleet, and there could be 18 active spacecraft in orbit within about one year. The system is scheduled to reach its full complement of 24 satellites by 2009, according to Itar-Tass news reports.

Monday's flight marked the 62nd space launch to reach Earth orbit this year. At least one more launch is scheduled for Wednesday, when a Russian Soyuz rocket will carry a European science satellite into space.