On December 25, 2006 Russia successfully launched Proton-K rocket from the Baykonur launch site (launch pad No. 24 of the launch complex No. 81). The launch was performed at 23:18:12 MSK (20:18:12 UTC). The rocket, equipped with DM-2 upper stage, delivered three Glonass-M navigation satellites into orbit. The satellites will join eleven active satellites of the Glonass constellation.
The satellites have been deployed in semi-synchronous circular orbits with altitude of about 19130 km and the inclination of 64.8 degrees. The satellites received international designations 2006-062A, 2006-062B, and 2006-062C. The NORAD catalog numbers they were assigned are 29670, 29671, and 29672. Russian names for the spacecraft have not been announced yet, but it is likely that the satellites will be designated Cosmos-2424, Cosmos-2425, and Cosmos-2426. The likely internal Glonass numbers are 715, 716, and 717. [UPDATE 01/27/07: The designations have been confirmed. See the table below.]
All three satellites are of the Glonass-M type, which means that they have extended lifetime compared to their Glonass predecessors. The satellites will be deployed in the second orbital plane of the Glonass constellation, which had no satellites in it prior to this launch. The table below shows the current distribution of satellites in the constellation.
|NORAD number||Intl designation||Plane/Point|
|NORAD name||Russian designation||Glonass number|
 Not active as of December 25, 2006
 Glonass-M prototype