Russia has successfully launched three GLONASS satellites aboard a Proton M launch vehicle from Bainkonur spaceport in Kazakhstan.

The satellites form a part of the Russian Federation global navigation system programme, which is a Russian equivalent of the US global positioning system (GPS) enabling users to determine their positions to within a few metres.

The satellite separated from the rocket’s third stage and the DM upper stage proceeded to orbit the cluster.

At present, Russia has 22 GLONASS satellites in orbit, of which, 16 are operational. The system requires 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of Russia.

Three such satellites were put into orbit in December 2009.