Big blow to Russian navigation satellite system

Big blow to Russian navigation satellite system

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Russia: Three satellites – part of Glonass system (Russian navigation satellite system) crashed into the Pacific Ocean on December 5, according to Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) officials.

The satellites were the last of the batch of 24 Glonass satellites. They went off course and crashed about 1,500 kilometres northwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, after blasting off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan.

Russia has been developing Glonass since 1976. The state has spent USD2 billion in the last 10 years on the project, and the system had been expected to be fully operational by end of January 2011.

The government’s enthusiasm for Glonass as a viable alternative to GPS has been so high that Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov announced in October that a 25 percent customs duty might be levied on all devices that supported GPS and not Glonass.

Source: The Moscow Times