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MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. Russia and China will create a joint venture to promote services based on Russia’s GLONASS and China’s Beidou satellite navigation systems worldwide, a spokesman for non-commercial partnership GLONASS Union, the Russian system's only operator, said on Friday.
“A Russian-Chinese center for implementation of satellite navigation technologies for civilian use will be set up to perform administrative work to establish a joint venture by the end of the year,” the spokesman said. “The center will become a supervisory body, identifying key areas of the future joint venture, and will address all issues connected with its establishment.”
Corresponding agreements were reached at a meeting between representatives of GLONASS Union and China's state-owned North Industries Corporation (Norinco) last month.
“The joint venture will not be oriented at the two countries’ markets exclusively. There are also plans for joint exports to countries in Central and South Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (the association of former Soviet republics), and Eastern Europe,” the spokesman added.
In October, GLONASS Union and Norinco signed a memorandum of understanding, formalizing agreements on cooperative development of navigation technologies in the two countries. Within the framework of the memorandum, the companies set forth the areas of cooperation, including development of the Silk Road project, joint development and production of high-performance GLONASS/Beidou navigation receivers. The parties also agreed to explore the possibilities for establishing joint ventures with focus on GLONASS and Beidou satellite navigation.
Russia and China are currently in talks on the mutual placement of positioning ground stations for the countries’ navigation systems.
China’s Beidou, which is undergoing development and testing, is to be deployed by 2017, and by 2020 it is expected to provide global coverage. For this China is to build up the constellation of satellites to 35.
Russia’s GLONASS system comprises 28 satellites, including 24 operational spacecraft, three spares, and one platform in a flight testing phase. In Russia, 19 ground stations provide consumers with a navigation signal with an accuracy of one meter. Three stations are located in the Antarctic, and one in Brazil. Two are to be created in Kazakhstan and one in Belarus.