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MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Russia’s leading satellite manufacturing company, JSC Information Satellite Systems — Reshetnev Company, is ready to launch a total of 19 spacecraft into orbit, the company’s director general said on Monday.
"We are potentially ready to launch 19 spacecraft. They are either ready or are nearing the completion stage this year. But the launch of satellites is defined by the decisions of the customer on the launch of commercial spacecraft or on maintaining the orbital constellation designed for the military use in case of necessity," Nikolay Testoyedov said.
He explained that this is the current concept of the Defense Ministry and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos. "I think we will launch some 10 or 12 of them in line with the particular needs, the possibilities and plans of rocket engineers on manufacturing launch vehicles," the company’s head said.
The orbital constellation of Russia’s GLONASS space-based satellite navigation system will not be added by new satellites in the near future, he added. "We have already manufactured eight GLONASS-M satellites as for today. This year we will make the ninth one. But they are not being prepared for the launch as the orbital constellation does not need this," he said.
The Global Navigation Satellite System network, which was put into operation in 1993, is regarded as Russia’s answer to GPS (Global Positioning System) of the United States. The network provides real-time positioning and speed data for surface, sea and airborne objects.
The orbital cluster GLONASS consists of 28 satellites: 24 are operating in the routine mode, two are undergoing flight testing, another one is being checked by the chief designer and another one is in the reserve.
In 2015, there were plans to launch three GLONASS satellites and add the constellation with seven new spacecraft.