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Glonass system to be launched by year-end - Sergei Ivanov

RIA Novosti

28/03/2007 15:17 MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - The Glonass global navigation system will be inaugurated later this year, Russia's first deputy prime minister said Wednesday.

"I have no doubt that by the end of the year, Roskosmos [the Federal Space Agency] will honor its commitments, for which state subsidies were issued promptly, and orbit 18 Glonass satellites," Sergei Ivanov said.

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 9.88 billion rubles ($379.7 million) has been appropriated for Glonass from the federal budget in 2007, and 4.72 billion ($181.4 million) in 2006.

In December 2005, President Vladimir Putin ordered the system to be ready by 2008.

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.

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, Anatoly Perminov said.

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

The satellites currently in use have a service life of five years.

Ivanov said that Roskosmos planned to launch Glonass satellites with a service life of 10 years by 2010.

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