Launches Glonass-K satellite The Russian Space Forces recently launched a new Glonass-K navigation satellite from the Plesetsk space centre by the Soyuz 2-1b launcher. The previous launch under the Glonass-M project in December 2010, supposed to conclude the forming of the satellite grouping, was unsuccessful as the rocket veered off course and sunk in the Pacific Ocean. The Glonass satellite network is Russia’s answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, as well as EU’s Galileo system and China’s Compass network and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters. The Glonass-K, has a service life of 10 years, has more navigation channels and is smaller than previous Glonass-M aircraft. The complete grouping of Glonass system must have 24 operational and 2-3 reserve satellites for the network to operate with global coverage. Russia currently has 22 Glonass satellites in orbit and will launch another three Glonass-M satellites on board a Proton heavy carrier rocket later this year to complete the Glonass grouping.
Implication for India:Under the accord of 2007, Russia and India have agreed to share the Glonass signals. India will be the only nation to have access to the military segment of the Glonass system, which will enable the Indian military to greatly improve the accuracy of its land, sea, air and space launched weapon systems. In the year 2010, the two nations also signed an agreement to jointly manufacture Glonass/GPS twin system receivers and other navigational equipment.