15:21, September 26, 2009
The launch of three Glonass navigation satellites has been delayed by at least a month due to a technical flaw in a similar satellite launched earlier, the head of Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said Friday.
The launch, originally scheduled for Friday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, was postponed because of a malfunctionin one of the Glonass-M satellites now in orbit, Anatoly Perminov said.
"We need to make sure that there will not be any problems with the satellites we are planning to orbit," Perminov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Perminov said one month would be enough time for a working group to sort things out and that all six Glonass satellites would be launched by the end of this year.
Glonass, a Global Navigation Satellite System, is the Russian version of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.
The Glonass project requires 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide, but currently has only 18 satellites that cover the entire Russian territory in orbit.