After completing its own global navigation system, Russia will join the USA in being the only country in the world having its own satellite navigation system.
According to the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, this year Russia is going to launch three satellites of Uragan (Hurricane) class and to finish developing its own Glonass global navigation system. Successful launching the satellites scheduled for the end of the year will allow Russia to have the group of 16-18 satellites onto the orbit by the end of 2005.
Glonass system is designated for continuous transmitting the coordinates of objects located in air, at sea, on the ground or in space to within one meter. According to experts, launching the global navigation system is a critical component for effective military defense for Russia and protecting its national interests.
Two Uragan satellites and one Uragan-M new generation device designed for 7 years of use will be transported to the geo-stationary orbit by Proton carrier rocket. Meanwhile, the Russian Space Agency informed that this year testing will be conducted for the successor of Uragan-M – perspective compact Uragan-K satellite capable to operate in space for over 10 years.
After completing the formation of orbital Glonass group, Russia and the USA will be the only countries having their own navigation satellite systems. US Navstar - GPS navigation system has military and commercial subsystems and includes 24 satellites capable of determining the object coordinates to within 10 meters.
Last year European Space Agency started developing its own similar Galileo system. In January 2003 the directors of European and Russian Space Agencies agreed to use Russian Glonass-M satellite for testing the future European system. According to experts, in future “the option of uniting the capacities of Glonass and Galileo and forming the unified global system can be applied”. This system will be controlled by Russia and the European Union, ITAR-TASS information agency reports.