From Khrunichev Press Release
MOSCOW, Dec. 26, 2007 – A Proton M launch vehicle with three GLONASS global navigation satellites onboard was launched successfully from Baikonur at 22:32 Moscow time (MT) Dec. 25. The launch, carried out by a Russian Space Forces launch crew, proceeded nominally.
The GLONASS spacecraft were separated from the RSC Energia-made Block DM upper stage at 02:04:42 (MT) today. This is the first time the Proton M/Block DM upper stage configuration has been used to launch GLONASS satellites.
This mission was the fourth successful launch for Proton in two months’ time. It also was the final space launch of 2007 for Russia.
The Proton launch vehicle has delivered all the GLONASS satellites into orbit. The Proton heavy class launch vehicle is manufactured by Khrunichev Space Center. The launcher has high power capacity and remarkable operational capabilities. Proton is currently used for implementation of national programs and commercial launches of foreign satellites for International Launch Services, a Russian-American joint venture in which Khrunichev is a partner.
GLONASS is a dual-purpose global navigation system designed to serve the Russian Ministry of Defense and civil users. The system is intended to provide continuous navigation coverage allowing unlimited number of domestic and foreign users at sea, in the air and on land to determine precise coordinates, velocity and time.