THREE RUSSIAN GLONASS navigation satellites will be launched by a Proton booster from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in late December to complete the 24-craft operating constellation.

Although current Glonass satellites offer more reliable access and precise positioning data than before, the programme's major drawback is in the shortage of available receivers. The first tests of a new-generation Glonass M spacecraft will begin in 1996. These will have operational lives increased from three, to five, years.

Source: Flight International