Russia’s plans for the GLONASS constellation

Russia’s plans for the GLONASS constellation

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The following information is a summary of some of Russia’s plans for the GLONASS constellation, as described at a meeting in Washington, DC last week, including some possible cooperative efforts between the Russian Aerospace Agency and the IGS.

• A new launch of 3 satellites is scheduled for 26 December.

• One of these will be a GLONASS-M and the other two will be the older model satellite. GLONASS satellite numbers 712, 796 and 797 will be placed into slots 1, 7 and 8 of plane 1 of the constellation. This will bring the total number of GLONASS satellites in orbit to 14. Eleven (11) satellites are now operational, including the first GLONASS-M (launched in December 2003) that has been set healthy just recently.

• The Russian Aerospace Agency has the approval of the Russian government to continue a long-term plan for the period 2002-2011, during which time it plans to reconstitute a GLONASS constellation of 24 satellites. Russia plans to have 18 operational satellites by the end of 2007 and 24 operational satellites by the end of 2010.

• The GLONASS-M satellites have two civil signals and have an expected life of 7 years. In addition to the one currently in orbit and the one scheduled for launch on 26 December, seven more have been ordered for production.

• GLONASS-K will be the future generation GLONASS satellite and will have a third civil signal. It will also weigh much less than the GLONASS-M (800 kg versus 1,400 kg). GLONASS-K will transmit integrity information and will support search and rescue operations.

• Russia is modernizing its national geodetic network to be compatible with the ITRF. It has updated the coordinates of the fundamental geodetic control network throughout Russia and in addition has defined a high precision geodetic network tied to the ITRF.

• There are still differences between the Russian “PE-90” geodetic reference system that is used to define geodetic reference station coordinates, the GLONASS monitor station coordinates, and the “PZ-90” broadcast navigation message.

• Russia has recently signed an agreement with India, which includes potential cooperative efforts regarding GLONASS.

• Russia has built a combined GPS-GLONASS receiver.

• The Russian Aerospace Agency is now generating precise orbits for the GLONASS satellites from Russian tracking data and from the IGS’s network data. It is considering contributing these precise orbits to the IGS. Furthermore, the Agency is considering co-locating GPS-GLONASS receivers at IGS stations.