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Russian navigation programme seeks private investment

Russia: Russian government refused to fund GLONASS programme because the GLONASS team failed to submit detailed report of the expenses they were planning. The funding programme was to be implemented by December 31, 2011, with the government approving a USD 10 billion draft back in autumn. Now they will have to seek private sources to fund the project.
The GLONASS team stated that the lack of funding may undermine the system’s image, which was itself extremely hard to develop. “In order to make GLONASS competitive, we need to constantly modernise and develop it,” said the deputy head of the project, Sergey Revnivykh. “It’s simply unprofitable to freeze the project now that its space segment is ready.”
Currently, the GLONASS system has 31 satellites in orbit (24 of them are in use) and three on reserve, with another two being tested. There are also Glonass-M spacecraft, Proton-M carriers, and two Soyuz carriers that will deliver the next satellites into orbit. Moreover, one should not forget that three Glonass-M navigation satellites, costing over USD 80 million, crashed into the Pacific Ocean in December 2010.
In addition to the Glonass satellites, Russia has been investing in its SDCM Glonass-augmentation capability, whose design is similar to the US Wide-Area Augmentation System, Europe’s Egnos and Japan’s MSAS. China is developing a similar architecture. All these systems use terminals hosted on telecommunications satellites in higher geostationary orbit to verify the accuracy of the positioning, navigation and timing signals provided by constellations in lower orbit.
In December 2011, a Russian Proton rocket launched the Loutch 5A data-relay satellite, which includes an SDCM Glonass-verification payload. Loutch 5A will operate at 16 degrees west in geostationary orbit. Two more Loutch satellites, to be positioned at 95 degrees east and 167 degrees east longitude, are scheduled for launch in 2012 and 2013.
Source: rt.com & Space News