Oct 28, 2013 (RIA Novosti)
A satellite in the fleet of Russia's answer to GPS has been decommissioned because of a terminal malfunction, space officials said Tuesday.
The Federal Space Agency said it stopped receiving signals from Glonass 728 on July 1 and has kept the satellite in maintenance mode ever since.
Attempts to fix the malfunction have proven unsuccessful.
"The spacecraft has been withdrawn from the [Glonass] constellation," the agency said in a statement. The craft was put into orbit in 2008 and became operational on January 20, 2009.
Glonass, or Global Navigation Satellite System, was officially launched in 1993 and is Russia's version of the United States' Global Positioning System. It provides real-time positioning and speed data for surface, sea and airborne objects to an accuracy of one meter.
With the Glonass 728 now retired from service, Russia still maintains a group of 28 Glonass satellites in orbit. Twenty-four satellites are currently in operation, three are spares and one is in test-flight phase.
The Glonass system requires at least 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services across the whole of Russia and 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.
By 2020, Russia plans to have 30 Glonass-M and new-generation Glonass-K satellites in orbit, including six in reserve, space officials have said.
Source: RIA Novosti