On December 10, 2003 Russia successfully launched Proton-K rocket from the Baykonur launch site. The launch was performed by the crews of the Space Forces and of the KB obshchego mashinosroyenoya at 20:42:12 DMV (17:42:12 UTC). The rocket, equipped with Briz-M upper stage, delivered three navigation satellites into orbit – Cosmos-2402, Cosmos-2403, and Cosmos-2404. The satellites will join the GLONASS constellation.
All satellites were deployed in the first orbital plane of the GLONASS constellation. The nominal parameters of these orbits are the altitude of 19137 km and the inclination of 64.8 degrees. Cosmos-2402 (GLONASS-794, NORAD number – 28113, international designation 2003-056B) was deployed in slot 2, Cosmos-2403 (795, 28114, 2003-056C) – in slot 4, Cosmos-2404 (701, 28112, 2003-056A) – in slot 1, but then was moved to slot 6. [Satellite number and slot information was updated on Feb 3, 2004]
The satellites will join the existing eight working GLONASS satellites (two in the first orbital plane, and six in the third orbital plane), which could bring the total number of operational satellites to eleven. A full constellation would include 24 satellites in three orbital planes.
One of the satellites launched on December 10, 2003 is the first spacecraft of the Uragan-M/Glonass-M type, which is designed to have extended lifetime (up to seven years vs about three years for the Uragan/Glonass satellites).