Russian Space Agency Set to Resume GLONASS Talks with US

The Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is set to resume negotiations on the possible deployment of Glonass global navigation satellite system elements in the United States, the newspaper Izvestia wrote on Tuesday.

"Roscosmos has done paperwork for the Americans and have filed the documents with the Foreign Ministry. They [the documents] state that our countries have made big progress in bilateral relations and this success should be developed for the sake of partnership and public interests. They propose to resume the consultations shortly and to pursue the path chosen earlier," a well-informed source in Roscosmos told the newspaper.

Earlier the sides agreed that the program would have three stages, he said. Stage I stipulates a real-time exchange of data from observation stations. Stage II suggests a broader option in the case the data is not sufficient: additional equipment may be installed at the request of a side so that the other side has more data. Stage III is the deployment of full-scale Glonass stations on the US territory and similar steps of Russia.

The negotiations on cooperation in satellite navigation came to a halt amid the general exacerbation of Russia-US relations, but the Americans continued to receive GPS data from stations deployed on the Russian territory.

"That equipment was brought to Russia and installed in the early 1990s consistent with the intergovernmental agreement on economic and technical cooperation, which contains a provision about cooperation in observational seismology," Russian Academy of Sciences Geophysical Service Director Alexei Malovichko told Izvestia.

Russia uses GPS equipment for monitoring slow motions of the Earth surface, he said. Malovichko said his organization had not been ordered to disconnect the GPS stations. "If the order is given, we will disconnect nothing. But the Americans will stop receiving measurements in the real-time mode," he added.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry information and press department deputy director Yuri Materiy could not say whether the dialogue resumption offer of Roscosmos had been conveyed to the US Department of State.

Izvestia recalled the initial plans of Roscosmos to open about 50 data collection stations in over 30 states, including five stations in the United States (Honolulu, Guam, Denver, Los Angeles and Greenbelt), one in Germany, one in Canada, one in France and one in Japan, Interfax reports.