GLONASS Constellation Now at 11 Satellites

Moscow, Russia – June 6, 2007 – Russia has announced that 11 of the 18 satellites needed to take its Glonass satellite navigation system nationwide are now operational.

The 11 operational satellites are sufficient to provide navigation data to users in 47 percent of Russia’s territory, said the Information and Analytical Center of the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building’s Mission Control Center. It noted that of 17 Glonass satellites in orbit, 11 are operational, one is being put into operation, four are temporarily under maintenance and one is being decommissioned.

Glonass needs 18 satellites to start operating nationwide and 24 to operate worldwide. Moscow said it plans to increase the number of Glonass satellites to 18 in the second half of this year. At present, there are 19 Glonass satellites in orbit, but most need replacement.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov confirmed that Glonass would begin operating nationwide by yearend, as planned. “I have no doubts that Roscosmos (the Russian Federal Space Agency) will meet its commitments, funded by the state, by putting 18 spacecraft into orbit to allow for launching the whole system at the end of the year,” Ivanov said.

“After 2009, Russia will begin launching Glonass spacecraft with the 10-year service life. There are no doubts that Roscosmos will meet its commitments; things are somewhat more difficult with the ground infrastructure and the commercial use of Glonass”.

Roscosmos Deputy Director Yuri Nosenko said launches of two blocks of Glonass-M spacecraft (the latest operational model) with three satellites in each block are planned. “This practically will secure at the first stage the full-scale use of the national system above 45 degrees of northern and southern latitudes, which fully covers the territory of Russia”.

The complete Glonass system will consist of 23 Glonass-M satellites by 2009 and two next generation Glonass-K satellites that are now being flight tested, Nosenko said. The number of Glonass satellites will be increased to 24 by 2011. Affordable Glonass global navigation receivers should be available before the end of this year.