25 december 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov

Vladimir Putin

Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov

"We have made another step in the GLONASS programme - almost all of the satellites planned for launch this year have been sent into orbit to cover all of Russia."

Transcript of the start of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Ivanov. How are things going? We have made another step in the GLONASS programme - almost all of the satellites planned for launch this year have been sent into orbit to cover all of Russia. Can you please give me some details?

Sergei Ivanov: Today's launch was a success. Three GLONASS navigation satellites are in an ideal orbit already. They will be fully functional within six weeks, after a series of tests. We now have 20 GLONASS satellites in orbit, including 17 operational ones. This will allow us to receive a navigation signal from anywhere in Russia and including the other CIS countries - in fact, the entire former Soviet territory - without any time lag.

Our schedule calls for another six satellites to complete the federal GLONASS plan in 2009. Two satellites launched more than five years ago will be discarded by that time. We will have deployed 24 satellites by the end of next year enabling our signal to cover the entire world. Not a single older satellite will remain in orbit by the end of next year - only GLONASS-Ms, with seven-year service lives.

The launch of the first GLONASS-K satellite, capable of a ten-year service life, is scheduled for 2010. Energy saving upgrades and other efficiencies will prolong its useful life.

I don't think there are big problems left on the space side of the GLONASS system. Reshetnev Satellite Information Systems Company is manufacturing satellites in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. You visited it last autumn, and so have firsthand information about the industry.

As I see it, the Earth-bound aspects of this system require the greatest attention in the next two years. There are three basic areas that need attention. The first is GLONASS' clients' Earth-based equipment, which is dependant upon two agencies - the Industry and Trade Ministry for state purposes and AFK Systema for commercial purposes.

The second issue is electronic map data updates. We need the latest electronic navigation maps for all of Russia, inhabited and uninhabited areas alike. Roskartografia, an agency of the Economic Development Ministry, is responsible for this mapping.

Finally, there are differential positioning systems allowing for greater precision, for which the Transport Ministry is responsible.

We have two years to establish the differential positioning systems not only for Russia but also for the other countries that have signed GLONASS partnership agreements. Our partners are major countries with developed technologies, such as India, Brazil and Kazakhstan. It is our duty to conclude the production of these stations within the two next years.

Our principal clients are actively buying GLONASS ground receivers. I should point out the Defence and Transport ministries among them. They have purchased tens of thousands of GLONASS receivers modified for specific uses. They lead the list of our clients.

Several parts of Russia are actively implementing GLONASS. Take the Krasnoyarsk Territory. As you have seen, it has a system for the complete monitoring of municipal transport routes, rescue services, etc. The system is also on line in Tatarstan and the Oryol and Kaluga Regions, which have partly financed it from their local budgets.

Funding is being allocated smoothly now. Federal target allocations for 2009-11 amount to 63 billion roubles. A bill on Russian navigation activities has reached the State Duma. When I talked to [State Duma Speaker] Boris Gryzlov, he said the Duma will give the bill its top priority, so the law will enter into effect no later than February. It will enable us to establish a national operating company based on a private-government partnership with AFK Systema, which will control the commercial side of the GLONASS system for private users.

Vladimir Putin: I congratulate all who are working on the system. It is a breakthrough. They have fully coped with this year's assignments, and programme implementation is progressing apace.

GLONASS is an essential part of the Russian space programme, in which we have always taken deserved pride. This is a competent job moving in a timely pace as the year comes to an end. We are happy to see its success. All who have been working at the programme deserve congratulations.

Sergei Ivanov: Thank you. I shall certainly pass your compliments on to them.