The military-run GLONASS mapping system works over most of Russia and is expected to cover the globe by the end of 2009, once all its 24 navigational satellites are operating.
A space rocket blasted off from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome on the steppes of neighboring ex-Soviet Kazakhstan, from which Russia rents the facility.
"The launch was carried out smoothly at 10:32 p.m. (1932 GMT)," RIA news agency quoted a spokesman for the Russian space agency as saying. "We expect satellites to separate from the booster on the orbit at 2:24 a.m. (2324 GMT)".
Work on GLONASS -- or Global Navigation Satellite System -- began in the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s to give its armed forces exact bearings around the world.
Russia readying its own GPS system
Posted on Thursday, Dec 27 2007 @ 11:10 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
On Tuesday Russia launched three satellites to complete a navigation system that will compete against the American GPS.