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MOSCOW, December 13 (Itar-Tass) — Some 330 billion rubles will be assigned for the development of the Glonass navigation satellite network in 2012-2020, Federal Space Agency deputy head Anatoly Shilov told a Tuesday press conference.
“The current federal program of the Glonass development will end on December 31. This program resulted in the deployment of 24 operating satellites. We have fully deployed the cluster for the second time since 1995,” Shilov said. He recalled that Europe had been building its Galileo satellite navigation system for 20 years and the mission would be accomplished in 2018.
Further development of the Glonass network will be done under the federal program for 2012-2020. The program is being coordinated with the Economic Development Ministry. “Funds are available, and the allocation of 330 billion rubles is planned within nine years. The optimal configuration of the system has been selected. It is now necessary to develop user gadgets,” he said.
Shilov hopes the new program would be approved before December 31, 2011.
CNNIMash said that 31 Glonass satellites were in orbit as of December 13, 2011, including 24 operating, three being put into service, two under maintenance, one testing and one on standby.
No less than 18 operating satellites are necessary for Glonass coverage of Russia, and 24 satellites make the system global.
Glonass is a radio-based satellite navigation system, developed by the former Soviet Union and now operated by the Russian Space Forces. It is an alternative and complementary to the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS) and the planned Galileo positioning system of the European Union (EU).
Development on Glonass began in 1976, with a goal of global coverage by 1991. Beginning on 12 October 1982, numerous rocket launches added satellites to the system until the constellation was completed in 1995. Economic problems suspended the project, and Russia committed to restore the system in 2001.
Initially the system was used in the interests of the Defense Ministry. It consisted of twelve satellites in September 1993. On May 18, 2007, then Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree officially providing open access to the civilian navigation signals of the Glonass system, to Russian and foreign consumers, free of charge and without limitations. The Russian president also directed the Federal Space Agency to coordinating work to maintain, develop and enable the system for civilian and commercial needs.
Four space launches were made this year under the Glonass program. A Proton-M rocket was launched from Baikonur on November 4 to position three Glonass-M satellites. A new-generation Glonass-K satellite was launched from Plesetsk on February 26. Two Glonass-M satellites were positioned from Plesetsk on October 3 and November 28.