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GLONASS system would be available to domestic consumers for military as well for civilian purposes by the end of 2007
Russia's defense minister said the country's global navigation satellite system would be available to domestic consumers for military as well for civilian purposes by the end of 2007. "Work on the intensification [of the system] will soon be complete and the program will be adopted in the immediate future," said Sergei Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, during a visit to one of Russia's leading space-industry manufacturers. The Reshetnev Research and Production Center in the central Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk is the developer of the GLONASS global navigation satellite system, which comprises radio navigation satellites that track objects on land, at sea and in space. Ivanov said Russian space technologies remained the best in the world and that GLONASS is the best proof. But he added that the project "needs decisions to be corrected so that the technological cycle corresponds to the country's economic and financial capabilities." Ivanov said the Defense Ministry would lift in 2006 restrictions on precise definition of coordinates so that the system can by used for civilian purposes. He said the move "would yield a considerable economic and anti-corruption effect." Ivanov added that the Russian orbital group consisted of 96 satellites, of which 59 are used for military purposes. The Glonass system currently has 17 satellites and two laser reflectors in orbit. The first launch under the project took place on October 12, 1982, but the system only officially came online on September 24, 1993. The satellites currently in use are of two modifications: Glonass and the updated Glonass-M. Glonass-M satellites have a longer service life of seven years and are equipped with updated antenna feeder systems and an additional navigation frequency for civilian users. A future modification, Glonass-K, is an entirely new model based on a non-pressurized platform, standardized to the specifications of the previous platform, the Express-1000. The Glonass-K is a small spacecraft that is considerably lighter than previous models, making it less expensive to put into orbit. Improved weight specifications also mean that more carrier rockets can carry it. The craft's estimated service life has been extended to 10-12 years and a third "civilian" L-range frequency added.
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