The name of the next-generation navigation is the Uragan-K No.15L. It is part of the Russian GLONASS constellation, similar to the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Galileo of the U.S. and Europe. The trio is a satellite navigation system that offers information to not only the military but also civilian.
The liftoff took place on October 25 at 23:08:42 Moscow Time (19:08:42 UTC). The satellite was aboard Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat rocket, whereas the launch site was the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. This launch site is only 800 km from Moscow on the northwestern side of Russia, and it is the leading site for military missions. The spacecraft’s separation was to take place not less than three and a half hours after the launch.
GLONASS in full is Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, which means Global Navigation Satellite System in English. Each satellite is called Uragan, which means Hurricane. They were always launched in threes aboard Proton-K carrier rockets. The Soviet Union embarked on this project back in the 1970s. However, not a single GLONASS’ satellite reached orbit until 1982.
The successful liftoff was a milestone, but trouble knocked on the constellation door in the mid-1990s. One significant contributor was the fallout of the Soviet Union. There was also the short lifespan of the satellite, which amounted to 3 years only. Therefore, when they started failing more than the replacement, it came a time when the constellation had a dark time, no doubt. It was around that period when Russia took over the project.
In 2001, there was an upgrade of the satellites through the introduction of the second-generation Uragan-M series. In addition to having new features, their lifespan was also relatively long. The constellation is at full capacity, with the 2001’s satellites serving as its backbone.
Since then, there has been another upgrade of the satellites most likely to match them with the advancing needs and technology. The third generation comprises the Uragan-K series. A good example is the latest one, Uragan-K No.15L, which has two predecessors of its caliber.
The manufacturer of these latest satellites is the ISS Reshetnev, and they are an imitation of the Ekspress-1000K satellite bus. They weigh 2061 pounds, equivalent to 935 kilograms, with a lifespan of not less than ten years. There was a proposed upgrade named Uragan-K2 series, which took longer than expected to become a reality. Consequently, Russia outsourced more Uragan-K satellites, 15 of them to be exact, and the recently launched Uragan-K No.15L was one of them.
Since Russia often launches them as trios and the fact that they are reasonably heavy, launching rockets are limited. They include the Proton rockets for three satellites or the Soyuz-Fregat vehicles in case of one.