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Russia, India to share GLONASS satellite system, to also jointly launch youth satellite

Moscow, Russia, 4 October 2006: Russia will launch a youth satellite for India besides sharing its space-based global satellite navigational system. The mini Indian research satellite ‘YouthSat’ would be launched with the help of a Russian launcher,” Russian space agency Roskosmos spokesman Igor Panarin said.

ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair and Roskosmos Chief Anatoly Perminov met in Spain today on the sidelines of the International Space Congress during which they discussed the production and joint use of GLONASS-M and GLONASS-K navigation satellites. “India will have access to the data from our satellites, which would be jointly used,” Panarin was quoted as saying by Ria Novosti.

Two types of satellites are currently in use – GLONASS and its updated version GLONASS-M. GLONASS, a Russian analogue of the United States GPS, is designed to allow both military and civilian users around the globe to receive signals from satellites to identify their positions in real time. It can also be used in geological prospecting. GLONASS-M has a longer service life of seven years and is equipped with updated antenna feeder systems, and an additional navigation frequency for civilian users.

A future modification, GLONASS-K, is an entirely new model. Tests on GLONASS-K satellites are scheduled for 2007. They are small spacecraft that are considerably lighter than their previous models, which makes them less costly to put into orbit. Their weight also allows the use of a wider range of carrier rockets. GLONASS-Ks’ estimated service life has been increased to 10-12 years, and a third “civilian” L-range frequency was added. The Defense Ministry said August 30 GLONASS will be fully deployed by 2010, when the number of satellites will be brought from the current 17 to 24.

Nair and Perminov also discussed the supply of cryogenic boosters for Indian GSLV rockets and explored the possibility of Russia’s participation in India’s Chandrayan Moon mission. “A Russian inter-departmental delegation will arrive in India to coordinate the details on October 27,” Igor Panarin said.

Russia is expected to supply seven cryogenic upper stages to India, which originally wanted to buy the Russian technology to build the engines domestically, but U.S. pressure prevented their delivery. India has been working to develop a cryogenic engine for the past 11 years. Working to cut its dependence on foreign launch vehicles, India has had four operational GSLV flights since 2004 using Russian engines for the upper stage.