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Glonass to cover all Russian territory by yearend

RIA Novosti

23/01/2007 15:20 BANGALORE, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's global navigation satellite system Glonass will cover all Russia's territory by the end of the year, Russia's defense minister said Tuesday.

"Russia will inaugurate the global system Glonass nationwide by the end of 2007, and worldwide in 2009," Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, told journalists during a visit to India.

Ivanov added that India will take part in developing small satellites for Glonass and use its booster rockets to orbit them.

He said India is the only country to cooperate in Glonass' development with Russia without restrictions. "An agreement is expected to be signed on this account very soon," the deputy prime minister said.

Ivanov said Monday that Moscow and New Delhi had agreed to launch Glonass M satellites with the help of Indian booster rockets, and to create a new generation of navigation satellites.

"Two cooperation agreements are to be signed during the Russian president's forthcoming visit [January 25-26]," Ivanov said.

Earlier, the head of Russia's Federal Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, said Russia and India plan to jointly use Glonass.

Glonass, a Russian version of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), is designed for both military and civilian use, and allows users to identify their positions in real time. It can also be used in geological prospecting.

In December 2005, Putin ordered that the system be ready by 2008, and last March Ivanov said Glonass will be available to domestic consumers for military as well civilian purposes by the end of 2007.

Perminov said earlier that Russia is in talks with the United States and the European Space Agency to prepare agreements on the use of Glonass jointly with GPS and the Galileo satellite navigation systems.

The agency plans to have 18 satellites in orbit by late 2007 or early 2008, and a full orbital group of 24 satellites by the end of 2009, he said.

In November, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia will lift all accuracy restrictions on Glonass, allowing for precise and unlimited commercial use of the military-controlled global positioning system. Current restrictions limit the accuracy for civilian users of Glonass to 30 meters.

The first launch under the Glonass program took place October 12, 1982, but the system was only formally launched September 24, 1993.

Andrei Kozlov, the head of the Reshetnev Research and Production Center in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia's leading spacecraft manufacturer, said earlier the Glonass system has 13 satellites in orbit.

The satellites currently in use are of two types - Glonass and its updated version Glonass-M. Glonass-M has a longer service life of seven years and is equipped with updated antenna feeder systems and an additional navigation frequency for civilian users.

A future modification, Glonass-K, is an entirely new model based on a non-pressurized platform, standardized to the specifications of the previous models' platform, Express-1000.

Glonass-Ks' estimated service life has been increased to 10-12 years, and a third "civilian" L-range frequency was added.

Tests on Glonass-K satellites are scheduled for 2007.

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