Russian Plans Four GLONASS-M Launches in November, System Nears FOC - Inside GNSS

Russian Plans Four GLONASS-M Launches in November, System Nears FOC

Russia plans to add four GLONASS-M satellites to its constellation in November, which should bring the GNSS system to fully operational capability (FOC).

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) website indicates that a launch of three GLONASS-Ms on board a Proton-M rocket will take place this Thursday (November 3, 2011) from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

Russia plans to add four GLONASS-M satellites to its constellation in November, which should bring the GNSS system to fully operational capability (FOC).

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) website indicates that a launch of three GLONASS-Ms on board a Proton-M rocket will take place this Thursday (November 3, 2011) from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

According to an October 24 report from the Russian state information agency RIANovosti, a fourth Glonass-M will be placed into orbit by a Soyuz 2.1b launch vehicle at the end of November from the Plesetsk space center north of Moscow. Other news reports place the date as November 22. The satellite was delivered to Plesetsk last week to undergo pre-launch procedures.

As of today (October 31, 2011), the system had 23 operational satellites in orbit: eight each in planes 2 and 3 and seven in plane 1 where an eighth spacecraft — the prototype next-generation GLONASS-K launched February 11 — is undergoing flight tests. A GLONASS-M launched October 2 and located in plane 1, slot 4, was activated on October 25, replacing

The constellation has a spare satellite in plane 2, as well as two space vehicles (SVs), one each in planes 1 and 3 that are still included in the constellation almanac in “maintenance” status. However, those have been out of service for more than two years and may not return.
In an October 28 statement published on the Roscosmos website, the Russian General Staff expects that the accuracy of GLONASS will reach parity with that of GPS by 2015. According to RIANovosti, Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin says that Russia will increase the number of operational satellites in the GLONASS constellation to 30.

Meanwhile, according to an October 16 Izvestia news article, Roscosmos is proposing a 330.5-billion ruble (US$10.9 billion) budget for GLONASS in the 2012–2020 time frame, compared to the 116.9 billion rubles ($10.85 billion) spent on the system since former President Vladimir Putin reactivated the program in 2001.

The Russian GNSS system got a boost with release of the new Apple iPhone 4s smart phone earlier this month that can process GLONASS signals as well as GPS. Reportedly, the Qualcomm MDM6610 chipset is used in the new phone. Chipmakers Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd and Texas Instruments Inc. have also indicated that they will bring out chipsets for smartphones that incorporate GLONASS capability.