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Russia allocates $380 million for Glonass in 2007

RIA Novosti

26/03/2007 14:02 MOSCOW, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has earmarked 9.88 billion rubles ($380 million) for its global navigation system Glonass program in 2007, the Russian space agency said Monday.

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

"A total of 24.4 billion rubles ($938 million) has been earmarked from the federal budget for the federal space program in 2007, and 9.88 billion rubles for Glonass," said Anatoly Perminov, head of the Federal Space Agency.

In 2006, the figures were 23 billion rubles and 4.72 billion, respectively.

Perminov also said that an additional 1.8 billion rubles ($69 million) had been allocated to secure the launch of Glonass satellites in 2008-2009.

In December 2005, President Vladimir Putin ordered the system to be ready by 2008, and First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Glonass would be available to domestic users for military as well civilian purposes by the end of 2007.

Perminov 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 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.

Ivanov said late last year that Russia will lift all precision restrictions on Glonass beginning in 2007, which will enable accurate 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 currently has 13 satellites in orbit.

The satellites currently in use are of two modifications - 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 has been added.

Tests on Glonass-K satellites are scheduled for 2007.

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