Russia throwing money at GLONASS to beat GPS


Russia has deep pockets when it comes to their version of satellite positioning system called GLONASS. GPS belongs to Americans and it’s been the standard for years but Russian is hoping to change that and end their dependance on US. They’re going to throw another $11 billion at it to be at least as good as GPS.

GLONASS is in working order right now but it does not have coverage all around the world yet. They have to put more satellites in orbit. They are also going for sub-meter precision. By 2015, with the help of ground stations GLONASS hopes to be there with GPS.

GLONASS has had a stormy past. Just last year for example three of the satellites never reached orbit and cost billions of dollars. GLONASS has actually been around for a while. 1995 to be exact. However by 2001 they only had 6 satellites left in orbit; far away from the bare minimum 24 satellites.

Since those days Russia came up with GLONASS-M which is the second generation of their satellites. These last twice as long in orbit, are about 1.5 times more powerful. The first of these was put in orbit around 2005. Currently Russia is working on GLONASS-K, the third generation of their satellites and already sent one up.

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