Thursday, September 25, 2008

Russia puts 3 Glonass satellites into orbit

...then starts talks with Cuba, Venezuela on joint use of Glonass satellites! (link)

MOSCOW, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has put into orbit three Glonass navigation satellites after a successful launch from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, Russia's space agency said Thursday.
"The Proton-M carrier rocket lifted off at 12:49 Moscow time [08:49 GMT], and the separation of the satellites from the rocket occurred on schedule at 12:59 Moscow time [08:59 GMT]," the agency's spokesman said.
Glonass - the Global Navigation Satellite System - is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions in terms of longitude, latitude and altitude to within a few meters.
According to the Central Research Institute for Machine Building, the Glonass system currently consists of 16 satellites, with 13 satellites operating in line with their designated function, two satellites undergoing maintenance, and one due to be withdrawn from the orbital grouping.
It was earlier reported that the Glonass system required 18 satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of the Russian Federation and 24 satellites to provide services worldwide.
A total of 9.9 billion rubles ($418.25 million) was allocated for Glonass from the federal budget in 2007, and 4.7 billion rubles ($200 million) in 2006.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a directive on September 12 allocating an additional $2.6 billion to develop the Glonass satellite system.
Russian Space Agency head Anatoly Perminov said on September 5 that the number of satellites in the Glonass network would be increased from the current 16 to 30 by 2011.


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