Russia To Launch 3 Glonass Satellites

Russia will launch a Proton-M carrier rocket on September 25 from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan to orbit three Glonass navigation satellites, Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday.

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 to within a few meters.

This year Russia plans to launch six satellites as part of the Glonass system in two separate launches. The first is due on September 25.

The system requires 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 ($360 million at the current exchange rate) was allocated for Glonass from the federal budget in 2007, and 4.7 billion rubles ($170 million) in 2006.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an order on September 12, 2008, allocating an additional $2.6 billion to develop the system.