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Russia launched a navigation satellite called Glonass-M on Nov. 3, 2018.
Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense
Over the weekend, Russia completed its second successful Soyuz launch since the Oct. 11 failed crew launch, with liftoff taking place on Saturday (Nov. 3) at 11:17 p.m. local time (4:17 p.m. EDT, 2017 GMT).
The launch, from a pad at Plesetsk Cosmodrome located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of Moscow, put a navigation satellite called Glonass-M into orbit. A Soyuz-2.1b rocket was used during the launch — the same model as in Russia’s most recent launch, and a variation on the model used for crewed flights, including the Oct. 11 failure.
According to a statement released by Russian space agency Roscosmos, the satellite deployed about 3 minutes after launch and began communicating normally with Earth.
The launch came just a few days after Roscosmos completed an investigation into the Oct. 11 failed launch, which sent a NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut plummeting to the ground. The investigation found that the abort was triggered when a faulty sensor caused a strap-on booster to separate incorrectly and hit the main booster.
Roscosmos has said that its next flight of the rocket model that failed, the Soyuz-FG, will occur on Nov. 16 during a cargo launch to the International Space Station in preparation for the system’s return to crewed flights on Dec. 3.