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Russian Space Force Launches New Satellite Promising Greater Navigational Accuracy

The ‘Z’ is one of the symbols that is often seen painted on Russian military vehicles taking part in the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s Space Force has launched a new satellite into space that promises greater accuracy than ever before.

The footage shows the Soyuz-2.1b medium-class rocket blasting off from the launchpad at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region, in north-western Russia, at 09:18 UTC – at 12:18 p.m. Moscow time, according to Russian state-owned news agency TASS – on Thursday, July 7.

It is Russia’s ninth rocket launch overall this year and the fifth military launch so far, with the footage, which was obtained from the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), showing the large space rocket bearing the now infamous letter ‘Z’ on its side, blasting off into space.

The ‘Z’ is one of the symbols that is often seen painted on Russian military vehicles taking part in the invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian MoD said in a statement (in English): “Space Forces combat crews launch Soyuz-2.1b medium-class rocket carrying GLONASS spacecraft from Plesetsk Cosmodrome located in Arkhangelsk region.

“In 2 minutes after the launch, Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket connected to ground automated control system of the Main Test and Space Systems Control Center named after G.Titov.

Space Forces combat crews launch Soyuz-2.1b medium-class rocket carrying Glonass spacecraft from Plesetsk Cosmodrome located in Arkhangelsk region in Russia. (@mod_russia/Zenger)

“The spacecraft has been connected to telemetric network and keeps in sustainable contact.” (sic)

We have not been able to independently verify the claims or the footage.

GLONASS (which stands for ‘Global’naya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema’; ‘Global Navigation Satellite System’) is Russia’s answer to the American-owned GPS, which stands for ‘Global Positioning System’ operated by the U.S. Space Force.

It has both civilian and military applications and this satellite, a GLONASS-K, is the third generation of satellites to be launched by the Russian Space Forces, which are part of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS), itself a division of the Russian Armed Forces.

The satellite was built by ISS Reshetnev (Information Satellite Systems Reshetnev), a Russian satellite manufacturing company that is a subsidiary of the Russian state corporation Roscosmos.

The new satellite promises to improve navigational accuracy and have a longer lifetime than the previous generation of GLONASS-M satellites, which it was reportedly built to replace, Russian state media has claimed.

Space Forces combat crews launch Soyuz-2.1b medium-class rocket carrying Glonass spacecraft from Plesetsk Cosmodrome located in Arkhangelsk region in Russia. (@mod_russia/Zenger)

And writing in the Russian daily newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta on June 16, Alexander Timofeev, an Associate Professor at the Department of Informatics at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, claimed: “To date, the error in determining the coordinates of GLONASS is slightly larger than that of GPS: 3–6 meters versus 2–4 meters [10-19 feet versus 6.5-13 feet].

“The use of signals from satellites from both systems at once dramatically increases the accuracy – the average error in this case does not exceed 1.5–3 meters [5-10 feet]. However, GLONASS, unlike GPS, has the ability to reduce the error down to 10 centimeters [4 inches].”

In May, The Times of London reported that Russian GPS jamming actions in Ukraine are pushing the United Kingdom and the United States to seek alternatives to the GPS system. Quoting Jeremy Quin, the Defense Procurement Minister, The Times said that Russian meddling in satellite signals posed a significant threat.

Quin is quoted by the Times as saying: “There is a whole range of capabilities that are being deployed on both sides. We need to learn the lessons from that and continue our own innovative work in the field.”

Space Forces combat crews launch Soyuz-2.1b medium-class rocket carrying Glonass spacecraft from Plesetsk Cosmodrome located in Arkhangelsk region in Russia. (@mod_russia/Zenger)

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation.” July 8 marks the 135th day of the invasion.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and July 8, Russia had lost about 36,900 personnel, 1,637 tanks, 3,811 armored combat vehicles, 828 artillery units, 247 multiple launch rocket systems, 107 air defense systems, 217 warplanes, 187 helicopters, 669 drones, 155 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 2,685 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 66 units of special equipment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia has only just begun its campaign in Ukraine and has dared the West to attempt to defeat it on the battlefield. Putin told parliamentary leaders: “Everyone should know that, by and large, we haven’t started anything yet in earnest.” He added: “The further it goes, the harder it will be for them to negotiate with us.”

Three people have been killed and another five have been injured after Russian forces fired rockets at Kharkiv, according to Ukrainian officials.

Russia’s MoD has claimed that it killed Ukrainian servicemen who were trying to raise Ukraine’s flag on the recently retaken Snake Island but Ukraine has denied that any of its servicemen on the island were killed.

The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, has said that Russia may be temporarily easing its offensive in eastern Ukraine in an “operational pause” as its forces rest before they attempt to reassemble for a new offensive.

Russian forces made no territorial gains in Ukraine on Wednesday, July 6, “for the first time in 133 days of war,” according to the Institute.

Space Forces combat crews launch Soyuz-2.1b medium-class rocket carrying Glonass spacecraft from Plesetsk Cosmodrome located in Arkhangelsk region in Russia. (@mod_russia/Zenger)

Ukraine has summoned the ambassador of Turkey, claiming that Turkey has allowed a Russian ship carrying thousands of tons of grain allegedly stolen from Ukraine to leave one of its ports. Kyiv alleges that the vessel is transporting stolen cargo amounting to 7,000 tons of grain.

The United Nations has warned of a “looming hunger catastrophe” due to Russia’s blockade on Ukrainian grain exports.

The resignation of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been met with sadness in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, most notably by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who said that Johnson has been a “true friend of Ukraine.”

But Moscow reacted with delight at the demise of the British Prime Minister, with a Kremlin spokesperson saying: “He doesn’t like us. We don’t like him either.”

The Russian parliament is rushing through two new bills to impose strict controls on the country’s economy and require that businesses supply the armed forces.

The United Nations has said that nearly 9 million people have now left Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has said that the country is investigating over 21,000 Russian war crimes committed since the beginning of the invasion.

Kazakhstan’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has called for a diversification of the country’s oil routes, a day after a court in Russia suspended operations on a major export pipeline.

The Russian court ordered the suspension of Kazakh oil exports to the West for a month. Russia controls the Novorossiisk Black Sea oil terminal where tankers are loaded with oil that transits, via a pipeline, from Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oilfield. Western sanctions have restricted Russia’s oil and gas exports, increasing demand for producers like Kazakhstan.

But the President of Kazakhstan has refused to recognize the pro-Russian break-away and so-called People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, and has also indicated that Kazakhstan could increase its oil exports to the European Union.

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