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Glonass system to cover entire Russia by late 2007

Moscow, 22 November 2006 – Russia’s global positioning system Glonass should be extended to cover the whole country by the end of 2007, the Russian Defense Minister said on November 22.

“By the end of 2007, we should ensure the system’s operation throughout Russia’s territory,” said Sergei Ivanov, also a Deputy Prime Minister, at a meeting with the Governor of Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk Territory. Ivanov told Alexander Khloponin that his region plays a key role in this program, as it is home to KB Reshetneva, a leading manufacturer of spacecraft with a long service life.

Russia had announced last week that it would lift all precision restrictions, from the start of 2007, in the use of military-controlled Glonass to enable accurate and unlimited commercial use of the global positioning system. Current restrictions limit the accuracy for civilian users of Glonass to 30 meters.

The Russian Space Agency approved the Russian military’s decision to put the system into commercial use. “We think that canceling restrictions for all Russian citizens using Glonass signals opens unlimited opportunities, and we will encourage the development of the new and promising market of satellite navigation,” agency spokesman Igor Panarin said.

He said that Glonass services would be a luxury for most people in Russia to begin with. “But with time, every housewife will be able to place a portable satellite navigator on her dog’s collar so that she can know where her pet is at any given moment.”