The construction and testing of Glonass-M, a new-generation navigation satellite, is nearing completion in the limited-access town of Zheleznogorsk, formerly Krasnoyarsk-26. According to Prof. Vladimir Bartenev, Deputy General Designer of the Acad. Mikhail Reshetnyov Applied Mechanics Research/Production Centre, this is the first ever Russian-built universal navigational spacecraft to remain functional in outer space for at least 7 years. Every previous model lasted between 3 and 5 years. The new satellite is expected to be launched into orbit by a Proton rocket from the Baikonur launch grounds, in the fall of this year. Simultaneously, two earlier model satellites will be launched.
As Prof. Bartenev further said, the Glonass domestic navigational satellite system, whose use began 10 years ago, is 'Russia's national valued possession'. The system, compatible with, analogous to, and no worse than the American Navstar, comprises only domestically made components.
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