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    Russia's Glonass system to get full state support - deputy PM

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    Russia will not cut funding for its Glonass satellite navigation program despite the current economic crisis, a deputy prime minister said on Tuesday.

    MOSOW, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will not cut funding for its Glonass satellite navigation program despite the current economic crisis, a deputy prime minister said on Tuesday.

    Glonass - the Global Navigation Satellite System - is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

    "Despite economic difficulties financing [for the Glonass program] in 2009 will remain unchanged, without any cuts or limitations," Sergei Ivanov said at the International Satellite Navigation Forum in Moscow.

    Ivanov said the Glonass grouping currently consisted of 20 satellites. The system requires 18 satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of the Russian Federation, and 24 satellites to provide services worldwide.

    A total of 9.9 billion rubles ($360 million at the current exchange rate) was allocated for Glonass from the federal budget in 2007, and 4.7 billion rubles ($170 million) in 2006.

    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a directive on September 12, 2008 allocating an additional $2.6 billion to develop the system.

    Six new Glonass satellites will be added to the network in 2009.

    Head of Russia's Federal Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, earlier said the number of satellites in the Glonass network would be increased to 30 by 2011.

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