According to a report on the space industry webs site GPS Daily
, the Russian government has given assurances that its GPS-like satellite navigation system called Glonass will be inaugurated later this year. Russia’s first deputy prime minister was Sergei Ivanov was quoted on Wednesday, March 28, has promised that multiple Glonass satellites will be launched in 2007. “I have no doubt that by the end of the year, Roskosmos [the Russian Federal Space Agency] will honor its commitments, for which state subsidies were issued promptly, and orbit 18 Glonass satellites,” Ivanov said.
Glonass operates in a very similar fashion to GPS and uses a constellation of satellites in mid-earth orbit.
According to GPS daily, a total of 9.88 billion rubles ($379.7 million) has been appropriated for Glonass from the federal budget in 2007, while 4.72 billion ($181.4 million) was earmarked in 2006. The head of Russia’s Federal Space Agency said earlier that Russia was also in talks with the United States and the European Space Agency to prepare agreements on the use of Glonass jointly with the GPS and the European Galileo satellite navigation systems.
This satellite system, first Soviet and now Russian, has been in development since the mid-1980s and even went operational for a brief period in the early 1990s. The Russians have not been wiling to spend the money to keep it operating up to now. But perhaps it will finally become fully operational and co-operable with GPS.