Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with Head of the Federal Space Agency Anatoly Perminov
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: Good evening. Yesterday, three GLONASS navigation satellites were launched from the Baikonur space centre. How did the launch go?
Anatoly Perminov: The launch went as planned. Three GLONASS navigation satellites were launched by the Proton carrier rocket. We plan another three launches in 2010, which will bring nine satellites into orbit and thus fulfil President Dmitry Medvedev's objective of completing the GLONASS satellite grouping of 24 satellites by the end of 2010.
Vladimir Putin: Currently there are 19 satellites in orbit, aren't there?
Anatoly Perminov: Correct. These three satellites have to be introduced into the grouping to ensure their effectiveness and bring them into operation. Then we must...
Vladimir Putin: Wait a second. How many satellites will be in orbit by the end of this year?
Anatoly Perminov: By the end of next year there will be...
Vladimir Putin: No, I mean this year.
Anatoly Perminov: We will have 19 operational satellites.
Vladimir Putin: And by the end of 2010?
Anatoly Perminov: If everything goes according to plan we should launch another six satellites.
Vladimir Putin: And one will be taken out of service?
Anatoly Perminov: Possibly. But I think that we will be able to launch three satellites in February, another three in August, and the remaining three in November, thus adding a total of nine satellites to the GLONASS satellite grouping.
If one, or even two of the currently operational satellites are taken out of service, even in this case the objective set by the President will be accomplished.
Vladimir Putin: And the system will have a global reach?
Anatoly Perminov: Yes, with 24 satellites in place the system will have a global reach.
Vladimir Putin: Will the remaining satellites serve as backups?
Anatoly Perminov: Yes, the remaining devices will be operational but will serve as backups. The Americans do the same: 27 of their 30 space vehicles are operational. Of this number two satellites are currently being serviced.
Vladimir Putin: What about the ground-based facilities?
Anatoly Perminov: We are currently focusing our attention on a special programme that services our users' ground-based facilities. We have accomplished a lot this year, with over 50% of the various air, ground, sea and river-based transport facilities put into operation. We have also been implementing pilot projects in 51 regions.
Vladimir Putin: How are you getting along with users?
Anatoly Perminov: We are arranging our contacts on the nationwide scale, and our users' ground facilities will be able to receive a signal for free. As for the project's commercial aspect, we have established a national operator that is now active and has formed a board of directors. The first meeting of the board was chaired by Sergei Shoigu at the National Emergency Management Centre, where the activities will be planned both for Moscow and nationwide.
Vladimir Putin: What about international cooperation within the GLONASS project?
Anatoly Perminov: International cooperation is based on mutually beneficial terms. According to the agreements we have signed with several countries, we provide commercial signals through the main operator.
Vladimir Putin: What countries are your main partners?
Anatoly Perminov: We have signed agreements with a large number of countries, including India, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Nicaragua. An agreement with Belarus in progress.