New Delhi, India, 25 January 2007 – Russia and India signed two cooperation agreements on January 25. Russia’s global space navigation system Glonass, can now be used by India – Moscow’s long-time partner in the military-technical sector. India will now be able to access the constellation of active satellites which transmit coded signals in two frequency bands.
The agreements were signed by the head of Russia’s Federal Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, and Madhavan Nair, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in attendance.
Glonass, a Russian version of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), is designed for both military and civilian purposes, and allows users to identify their positions in real time. It can also be used in geological prospecting.
India’s search for a GPS system had seen it engage in negotiations with the European project Galileo, but the deal had run into security concerns. Indian negotiators were not satisfied that the information accessible on the proposed system was adequately firewalled against individuals and possible military users. China is also part of Galileo.
The space segment of the Russian system currently comprises 16 satellites in three orbital planes which will be expanded to 24 by 2011. There are three spare satellites. Under a Russia-India joint venture, India will launch two GLONASS-M satellites on its GSLV platforms and undertake to share costs of developing the K-series. This was inked at the December 2005 summit between PM Manmohan Singh and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
GLONASS availability in Russia is around 50% and globally at 39.8% which means that at least four satellites were visible 39.8% of the time from everywhere on Earth. The three orbital planes are separated 120 degrees and each satellite traverses an orbit of 19,000-odd km.