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    Russia's Glonass to go global by yearend - Putin

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    Russia will complete the formation of a global navigation satellite group by the end of the current year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

    Russia will complete the formation of a global navigation satellite group by the end of the current year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

    "Before the end of the year we are planning to launch another six satellites. Thus the formation of our satellite constellation will be completed," he said.

    "There will be between 24 and 28 satellites in orbit at any given moment. A Glonass signal will be reliably received at any point on Earth."

    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 enable users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

    Putin said around 48 billion rubles ($1.6 billion) would be spent on the development of a space and ground based Glonass system this year and next.

    He said 2.5 billion rubles ($85 mln) was spent on the satellite system in 2009.

    The Russian head of government also proposed that from 2012 all new motor vehicles be equipped with Glonass systems.

    He directed the Transportation Ministry and the Interior Ministry to come up with proposals concerning the installation of navigation systems and panic buttons on vehicles capable of carrying eight persons.

    Russia currently has a total of 22 Glonass satellites in orbit, but only 16 of them are functional. 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.

    RYAZAN, August 10 (RIA Novosti) 

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