Russia will launch Glonass navigation satellites on non-Russian boosters for the first time if negotiations with India succeed, says Anatoly Perminov, president of space agency Roskosmos. “If all legal procedures are agreed at Russian and Indian governmental level, the launches will go ahead,” he says.

The Glonass constellation was completed in 1995, but after years of deterioration it requires new satellites to provide a full global service. India’s offer of launches from its near-equatorial site represents a potential cost saving for Roskosmos, which must pay for Russia’s satellite constellations and International Space Station commitments from an Rb18.5 billion ($646 million) budget.

No date has been set for the first replenishment launch, but the target for Glonass to be fully operational is 2007. This is part of a Rb305 billion 2006-2015 space programme waiting for approval by the Kremlin, including a 30% rise in the 2006 budget to Rb24.4 billion.

Roskosmos says Glonass has been underfunded by 72% since 2002, causing two replacement satellite launches to be postponed.


Source: Flight International