GPS Reviews & Technology

Russia Launches Three Modernized GLONASS Global Positioning Satellites

On December 25, 2006, Russia successfully launched three modernized GLONASS-M satellites to join its existing, partially complete, GLONASS global navigation satellite system. The GLONASS -M series of satellites have an additional navigation frequency for civilian users, a longer (seven year) service life and updated antenna feeder systems.
A new satellite series, GLONASS-K, with reduced weight (cheaper to launch) and a further increased operation lifetime of 10-12 years, is expected to enter service in 2008. India and Russia have an agreement for India to share the development costs of the GLONASS-K series and launch them from India.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered that the GLONASS system be ready by 2008 and it is reported to be on target with availability to domestic consumers for military and civilian purposes by end 2007. The full GLONASS global positioning satellite constellation will consist of 24 satellites with 3 in-orbit spares by 2010.

Glonass is operated by the Russian Space Forces for the Russian government. In November, 2006, Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Ivanov, announced that Russia would lift all precision restrictions at the start of 2007 allowing unlimited, accurate commercial use of the system. Current restrictions limit accuracy for civilian users to 30 meters.

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