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Dec 4, 2005

India Partners With Russia In GLONASS

India is entering into a partnership with Russia to be a part of GLONASS (Global'naya Navigatsionnay Sputnikovaya Sistema or Global Navigation Satellite System). Currently the Global Positioning System (GPS) launched by the United States is the only other satellite-based navigation system. As reported by the Daily News & Analysis of India, this is a major step towards India realizing its goal of using space applications for defence. The European Union is proceeding with it's Galileo navigation system. However, the EU system will not be ready until 2008 and will be solely for civilian use.

India's invovlement should go a long way towards keeping GLONASS up and running, as noted by the News:
Run by the Russian Federation Ministry of Defence, Glonass is in bad shape today with just eight satellites providing the global navigation. For a precise system, especially for military purposes, at least 24 satellites are required, so that three satellites are available over a particular point at any given point of time.

This week Russian Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov announced plans to launch three Glonass satellites on Christmas Day.

The proposed Indian involvement would include using ISRO's launch vehicles. By 2008, Glonass would have 17 satellites, making it precise enough for military applications.