The Russian navigation system Glonass will cover 100% of the Earth's surface by yearend, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov 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.
"We expect to launch six or seven Glonass satellites this year. One of them will be the new Glonass-K, which will be operable for 10-12 years," Ivanov told Russia 24 TV channel.
"This means our space group will be able to cover 100% of the Earth's entire territory by the end of 2010," he added.
The goal of Glonass project was to have global coverage by 1991. With the collapse of the Russian economy in the 1990s, work on the project was suspended. Beginning in 2001, Russia committed to restoring the Glonass system. The number of satellites increased from six to 23 over the last nine years.
Russia currently has a total of 23 Glonass satellites in orbit, but only 21 of them are operational. The system requires 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of Russia and at least 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.
MOSCOW, April 13, (RIA Novosti)