Many people are unaware that the GPS system used across the planet by all and sundry was created and is maintained by the US Dept of Defense. Doubtless the DoD could and would shut it down in an instant if the US wished to "in the interests of national security". Russia setting up its own "GLONASS" system makes perfect sense.
ST. PETERSBURG, April 23, (TASS) - Russia is negotiating possible placement of land-based infrastructure for its global navigation system GLONASS with China, Cuba, Nicaragua and Vietnam, deputy head of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Mikhail Khailov said on Thursday.
"We have already established four land-based GLONASS signal adjustment stations abroad - one in Brazil and three at year-round wintering stations in the Antarctic," he said. "We are in talks with four countries, namely China, Cuba, Nicaragua and Vietnam." In his words, about 20 such facilities abroad are needed to better accuracy. Twenty more such facilities are located in Russia.
Khailov said the technological period for placing and commissioning GLONASS infrastructure facilities outside Russia was two to three years. "However this is the subject for negotiations and the issue of actual terms is open until the negotiations are over," he said, adding that the only thing that could be said for sure was that it was decided to add two more facilities in the Antarctic.
Russia’s GLONASS is a global navigation satellite system similar to US’ GPS used for real-time positioning and providing speed data for surface, sea and airborne objects. Russia has been developing GLONASS since 1976 on instructions from the Defence Ministry. The first GLONASS satellite was launched into orbit in 1982. In 1993, the initial system of 12 satellites was formally declared operational and in December 1995, the constellation was finally brought to its optimal status of 24 operational satellites, enabling full global coverage.
The system currently comprises 28 satellites, including 24 operational spacecraft, three spares, and one platform in a flight testing phase. The network’s positioning accuracy is 3.5 metres and by 2020 it is to be improved to 60 centimetres.