Soyuz 2.1b/Fregat | Glonass-K1 No. 17
Russia is launching one of its GLONASS global positioning satellites to medium Earth orbit. It's going up on a Soyuz 2.1b rocket, from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, in the Archangel region of North West Russia. Soyuz has been the workhorse of the Soviet/Russian space program. The first launch of the Soyuz 2-1a version on November 8, 2004 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome represented a major step in the Soyuz launch vehicle’s development program. Fregat is the upper (4th) stage of Soyuz 2.1, and it first flew in the year 2000.