Space officials said the satellites are to join Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System. GLONASS is the equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS.
When the three satellites are placed in orbit, Russia will have 17 GLONASS satellites operating.
A slideshow of images related to the top news stories of 2005 from throughout RFE/RL's broadcast region with links to RFE/RL's reporting.