GLONASS to Top U.S.'s GPS, Putin Says
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that GLONASS, his country's satellite positioning system that is still being deployed, would be better that the GPS system currently in service and operated by the United States.
The semi-official news service Itar-Tass quoted Mr. Putin as saying, “In order users chose GLONASS, the system should operate flawlessly, better than GPS (the global positioning system). Cheaper and with a better quality.” Mr. Putin reportedly made the statement at a meeting of government officials yesterday.
The news service said that the president closely follows progress of the satellite system. Mr. Putin went on to offer a none too subtle hint that he expects all sectors of the Russian economy to embrace GLONASS, saying “We have the right to count on known, healthy economic patriotism of our users, first of all of the state, but I proceed from the assumption that we shall work on market terms in this sector of the economy, and users will be able to chose a quality service.”
The first GLONASS satellite was launched in October of 1982. However, the project stagnated with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The program appears to have been re-energized by the recent attention given to it by the Russian President. Three GLONASS satellites were launched in December of last year. Plans are for the the navigation system to be ready for Russian use by the end of this year with a total of 18 satellites in orbit. Continuous global operations require a minimum of 24 satellites, which is planned by late 2009.See also: Report: GLONASS Could Be Operating By 2009
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