Three Russian Gonets ("messenger") satellites were carried on the orbit by Tsiklon-3 rocket launched Friday from Plesetsk spaceport (Northern Russia). They will provide for communication through space between thousands of people, including mobile telephone users, a RIA Novosti correspondent was told in Rosaviakosmos, the organization that ordered the production of the spacecraft. "With the three satellites launched today, Russia's territory will be almost completely covered with areas of effect of nine satellites. The whole system will work in experimental mode until 2004. The work began in 1997," sources in Rosaviakosmos elaborate. "It is run from the land-based command centre situated in three sites, Moscow, Zheleznogorsk (outside Krasnoyarsk, a major city in Central Siberia) and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (in Russian Far East)." The three satellites launched Friday are on nearly circular orbits on the height of about 1,400 kilometers. The period of revolution is 114 minutes.
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