KRASNOZNAMENSK (Moscow region), October 2 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to use the country’s Glonass global positioning and navigation satellite network to operate other satellites in orbit, a military space official said Wednesday.
“Glonass will be used extensively in the future to control spacecraft,” said Sergei Berezhnoi, an aide to the head of the Titov Space Control Center, Russia’s main satellite control center.
According to the official, the Glonass system will also render automated assistance in the search for “missing” satellites with which operators on the ground have lost contact.
“In addition, this system could be used to help fix satellite glitches without the involvement of ground control facilities,” he added.
Glonass (Global Navigation Satellite System), which was officially launched in 1993, is Russia’s answer to the US Global Positioning System (GPS). It provides real-time positioning and speed data for surface, sea and airborne objects with an accuracy of one meter.
The Glonass system requires at least 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services across the entire territory of Russia and 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.
A group of 29 Glonass satellites is currently in orbit: 24 are currently in operation, three are spares, one is in maintenance, and one is in test flight phase, according to Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos.
By 2020, Russia plans to have 30 Glonass-M and new-generation Glonass-K satellites in orbit, including six in reserve, Roscosmos has said.