MOSCOW, December 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and Belarus on Friday signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the use and development of the Glonass global navigation and positioning network.
The document was signed at a meeting of the Russia-Belarus Union State Council of Ministers, chaired by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart, Mikhail Myasnikovich.
The agreement is based on the main provisions of the international agreement between Russia and Belarus on cooperation in the exploration and peaceful use of outer space, signed in March 2011.
Similar agreements on cooperation in the use of the Glonass system have already been signed with Ukraine, India, Cuba and Kazakhstan.
Designed for both civilian and military use, Glonass was officially launched in 1993. It is Russia’s answer to the US Global Positioning System (GPS).
The Glonass network provides real-time positioning and speed data for surface, sea and airborne objects with an accuracy of one meter.
A group of 28 Glonass satellites is currently in orbit, with 24 in operation, three spares, and one in test-flight phase, according to Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos.
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.