Russian Satellites To Challenge America's GPS Monopoly

Russia's space agency is preparing to launch eight satellites that will nearly complete a system designed to compete directly, by 2009, with the existing global positioning system technology of the United States. GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), is expected to begin operations over Russian territory later this year, followed by coverage of adjacent parts of Europe and Asia. By controlling the only fully operational satellite navigation system in existence today, the United States holds a strategic advantage in times of conflict, according to Russian military officials. In theory, the United States could deny GPS navigation signals to countries with which it has a dispute. Such actions could affect industries as diverse as agriculture, oil production and banking, to say nothing of military operations. For the most part, the Russian system promises to be functionally equivalent to the existing GPS system, however it could be more accurate than GPS in regions where Russia has better access to terrestrial navigation aids. Some companies are already designing dual-chip navigation devices that support both systems.

While Russia attempts its own GPS alternative, China has already launched satellites for its own Baidu system. The European Union's Galileo positioning system is still in the planning stages, having hit a snag with its private contractors over potential profits. The European Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System is scheduled to come online in 2011 with higher precision than the existing GPS and GLONASS networks. However, delays put the Galileo project more than four years off schedule and still counting.

News source: DailyTech

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GLONASS will be good for everyone especially us in europe the american converage of Europe is down right appauling at the moment.

I use on a daily basis GPS Gyro compasses that fail to function if 5 or more sat's are not in view.

In europe today on my system im tracking 5 sat's one blocked and the system falls over.

I spoke to my agent in the gulf he is tracking 9 sat's the agent in the USA he is tracking 9 sats aswell.


With a dual GPS/GLONASS system i should always have 12 sats in view thus making the system reliable. with the tri system we are making GPS/GLONASS/Galileo system it will track approx 16 sat's thus making the system almost fail proof.

I'm pretty certain he was not implying that the Russians were bad or that it would be them that was the risk. He said since it would be available to everyone on earth, even terrorists, that it could be a risk

Yes that was exactly my point.
I should have worded it better, the main concern was that the terrorists had another source to use to their benefit.
My apologies if it was taken the other way.

Wow my country has been bashed more times than an idiot on youtube. To the person who said the U.S. had the technology to blast the satellites out of the sky take a look at the Topol-M nuclear missile. No problem launching a nuclear weapon in to a radioactive environment like space.


To the person who said that the information would be avaliable to everyone good and bad, I think you're referring to Russia's history of seeling weapons to the highest bidder by the millions. Russia learned from that with the AK-47, they flooded the market and now can't sell the new AN-94 to anyone and don't have the money to give it to anyone besides Spetsnaz and certain other military and paramilitary groups.

Actually there is a bit more at stake here...

About 10 years ago the Russian satellites were more accurate... but then the Pres of the US decided to turn off the selective availability which put an error into the satellites that only the military could decipher.
So from that time forward the US citizens had military level accuracy with all gps products.

This was saved and kept in an active reserve (selective availability) in case of war; where the selective availability could be re-established so only OUR military could use maximum accuracy with US satellites.

Now with the Russian satellites coming into play to ALL people, good and BAD; this represents a security risk to the US.

So this is humbling... but I guess inevitable...

WindSailor said,
Now with the Russian satellites coming into play to ALL people, good and BAD; this represents a security risk to the US.

Russians are security risk for US. So we should kill them as soon as possible. After all Americans are the GOOD people, not Russians.

RealFduch, I'm pretty certain he was not implying that the Russians were bad or that it would be them that was the risk. He said since it would be available to everyone on earth, even terrorists, that it could be a risk. I'm not saying that I agree with that, but there's no call to act like a jerk about it.

HawkMan said,
Actually, they still don't provide quite military grade accuracy, but a lot closer.
Are you sure about that? I can't find any source that suggests that they don't provide the best access there is.

Kudos to them for doing it anyway.


I wonder how often satellites collide in space...if they do at all but don't hear about it much.

Programmed not to, and well satelittes aren't that big and think how big the area they cover is.

Chinas and Russias ideas sound a bit silly, Europe's actually would push things forward but like all things european lately, money and time issues.

It'll be interesting to see how Europe, China and Russia intend on making money by competing with GPS which is provided to the world for free by the American military. Perhaps they plan on blocking out GPS and forcing their citizens to pay for the use of their own proprietary tracking systems? Since Canada won't be covered by any of the new systems we'll continue leeching from GPS for free, thank you very much.

If you read the information on the European system, you'll see how they intend to make back at least some of the cost, by providing commercial users with a more detailed service (accuracy better than 1 meter). Its also obvious that the system has a value to Europe - it can provide better search & rescue capabilities, it can provide better navigation for planes and boats, it can provide a service that is very reliable (and very hard to be jammed) for police etc.

So, sure, its a lot of money, and they're unlikely to make their costs back from selling access to it (unless they charge a huge amount), but in the end some of the benefits will pay for the system.

I believe the European system will cover the whole world, that includes Canada. Theres even speculation that Canada may help fund it. Many countries outside Europe are funding it, including South Korea, India, Israel and China.

You can find more information at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Positioning_System
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/energy_transport/galileo/
http://www.galileoju.com/page.cfm?voce=m&a...01&plugIn=1

GPS is a free service, the US doesn't profit from it, I assume it is correct they could "shut off" the broadcast signals from particular satellites serving a region during a military conflict, but we have the same technology to blast the Russian GPS satellites out of the sky. I can see the Russian's reasoning behind this approach but if they provide the service for free as the US does there is no economic return for the project and the Russian economy is not exactly the strongest in the world so the quality and maintenance of such a system may be as reliable as MIR.

You mean the MIR space station, the longest operating manned space station.

you know as opposed to the American one that only lasted a few years, sheesh, if you're goignt o insylt a nation, you may want to know what you're talking about first. I know it's alwlays the funt hing to attack russian construction and reliability, while the fact is that Russian tech, at leats in Aeronatutics and space tech is actually more reliable than American, afterall who kept launching supplies and crew to the ISS when the shuttles can't do it ?

you know as opposed to the American one that only lasted a few years

You make it sound like the US built a space station and it fell apart. You do know that it was never actually built don't you?

Ravensworth said,

You make it sound like the US built a space station and it fell apart. You do know that it was never actually built don't you?

I was under the impression that the US did build Skylab, which while impressive, had nothing on both the longetivity of Mir and its ability to keep operating on a budget that would probably not even pay for a new tile for the shuttle.

I thought he was talking about Space Station Freedom. Yeah there was Skylab, but that was built in the early 70's and was in orbit for six years. I wouldn't exactly call that a failure. I'm not calling Mir one either by the way, but I felt like there was some country bashing going on there and wanted to respond.

[cartman voice]
Yay for competition, yay for cheaper products, yay for stopping a monopoly, that game always sucked.
[/cartman voice]

Vexed said,
[cartman voice]
Yay for competition, yay for cheaper products, yay for stopping a monopoly, that game always sucked.
[/cartman voice]

Its not a monopoly if its free is it? the US gives free GPS to everyone, if they choose to block an area its their right to do

Beastage said,
Vexed said,
[cartman voice]
Yay for competition, yay for cheaper products, yay for stopping a monopoly, that game always sucked.
[/cartman voice]

Its not a monopoly if its free is it? the US gives free GPS to everyone, if they choose to block an area its their right to do

I think its still a monopoly if its free... From wikipedia;

a monopoly ... is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a product or service.

Although its obviously a huge waste of money for Russia who could really do with spending the money on more important things, it does benefit everyone (at least in Europe), with more coverage. The EU system will also benefit everyone with considerably increased accuracy...