For the third year in a row, the Christmas holidays were chosen as the launch date for Russia to deliver a special present to Topcon Positioning System (TPS) customers using precise positioning technology and instruments.
Three of the new GLONASS navigation, long-life satellites were launched early Christmas morning, bringing to 20 the number of Russian navigation satellites in orbit. The new satellites have an expected lifespan of seven years.
The recent launch mirrored the 2004 and 2005 launches, in which a total of six satellites were also put in orbit.
The most recent launch, when combined with GPS, makes 44 total satellites available to Topcon users. The most recent launch makes the second of a series of satellite placements the Russian Federal Space Agency has scheduled in the next several years to bring the GLONASS system to full deployment.
The recently launched satellites are the new M-series, which have a longer orbit-life — seven to eight years — compared to older models. The modernized satellites are al o broadcasting a new code which is similar to the modernized GPS satellite's L2C code. Only Topcon receivers are able to track this new signal. Future launches will include GLONASS satellites designed to remain in orbit for up to 10 years.