One of three newly orbited satellites in Russia’s GLONASS space satellite navigation grouping has entered service, the federal space agency Roscosmos has said.
GLONASS – the Global Navigation Satellite System – is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.
The three satellites, which bring the total number of Glonass satellites in orbit to 22, were launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on December 14, 2009. Currently, there are 16 operational GLONASS satellites in orbit, three satellites have been temporarily withdrawn from the system over technical problems, one satellite will be decommissioned and two new satellites are expected to enter service.
The GLONASS system requires 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of Russia and at least 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.