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    Glonass system to consist of 30 satellites

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    KRASNOYARSK, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - A fully operational Glonass cluster will consist of 30 Glonass-M and Glonass-K satellites by 2010, a satellite production corporation official said on Friday.

    Glonass (Global Navigation Satellite System) is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), which is designed for both military and civilian use, and allows users to identify their positions in real time.

    "The system will have a total of 30 instead of 24 satellites, with two of them to be used as operating reserves," said the deputy designer-in-chief at Information Satellite Systems.

    The system currently consists of 18 satellites and is supposed to provide navigation and positioning data covering the whole territory of the Russian Federation.

    Another six satellites will be added to the Glonass system in 2008, and the first two improved Glonass-K satellites are set to be launched in 2009.

    The future modification, Glonass-K, which will be operational for 10 years, is expected to orbit from 2010. Glonass-K is an entirely new model based on a non-pressurized platform, standardized to the specifications of the previous models' platform, Express-1000.

    Kosenko added that in two years Russia will be launching future-generation navigation satellites that will be operational for 15 years.

    A total of 9.88 billion rubles ($380 million) was allocated for Glonass from the federal budget in 2007, and 4.7 billion ($181 million) in 2006.

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