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Russia is working diligently to patch its GLOSNASS system, with launches from Kazakhstan. Very nice!

Russia's GLONASS system just got a boost with the launch of three new satellites aboard a Proton-K booster rocket, last Friday.  The satellites successfully reached low-earth orbit eight minutes after launch.

GLONASS, for the unfamiliar, is Russia's equivalent of the Global Positioning System  (GPS) commonly used in the U.S.  In English the words that make up the acronym roughly are translated to "Global Navigation Satellite System."

The European Union anticipates the success of a separate system, called the Galileo Network. However as reported by DailyTech, the system has yet to fully be implemented.

The technology developed during the Cold War went into operation in 1982, was completed in 1985, but fell into disrepair, following the collapse of Russia's communist regime.

Still the Russian government has been making legitimate attempts to restore the aging system, as reported on earlier this year at DailyTech.  The constellation initiated its first public broadcast of May this year.

The Indian government pledged support for the GLONASS system in 2004, but the country have yet to launch any satellites.

The U.S. and Russian governments have also been in talks about making the GPS and GLOSNASS networks interoperable and compatible.  The U.S. and European Union have struck a similar deal as well.

The satellite launch last week occurred, not in Russia, but in Kazakhstan, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.  Russia rents the facility and the right to launch from Kazakhstan, under a long term contract.

The launch was significant as it was the first Russian launch from the facility since September.  Kazakhstan had temporarily banned launches, following a failure in which the Russian launch of another Proton rocket ended in failure.  This failed launch sent the Proton booster, full of highly toxic heptyl fuel, plunging into the countryside by the industrial city of Zhezkazgan. 

The effects of this incident on the local populous have yet to be fully determined, but launches have resumed with extra precautions.  Russia has relied heavily on launches of GLOSNASS satellites from the Baikonur location, in its efforts to repair the network.


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RE: come on!
By JohnnyCNote on 11/4/2007 9:37:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
GLObal'naya NAvigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema


Aka "Global Navigational Satellite System" - very good!

quote:
It exists in order to feed and reinforce anti-American sentiment and/or competition in Europe.


There are lots cheaper ways to "feed and reinforce anti-American sentiment" than spending billions on a global positioning satellite network. It's simply competition.

Beyond that, the article also mentions:
quote:
The U.S. and Russian governments have also been in talks about making the GPS and GLOSNASS networks interoperable and compatible.
That doesn't strike me as anything motivated by a burning desire to "feed and reinforce anti-American sentiment". . .


RE: come on!
By Ringold on 11/4/2007 1:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
See, here is where the American capitalist in me gets confused.

Competition exists for economic reasons; to drive down costs and prices within a field of competitors to maximize the total utility of the market, to maximize total profit.

Here we have Galileo. Will it drive down the cost of GPS? Free is hard to drive down. Will it make GPS magically cheaper to maintain? Not likely. Will it deliver economic benefit to Europe? A very small one if anything. Will it increase total utility? Sort of hard when the world is already blanketed by the GPS. Total profit? Heh, government does not exist for profit, so of course not.

It provides none of the benefits of competition, yet you say it's competition. The only realm in which competition can still exist is in the psychological realm, and thats the one TomZ referred to and the one you've thus far not managed to explain away.


RE: come on!
By Tango on 11/4/2007 1:21:18 PM , Rating: 1
Galileo will be more accurate than GPS or Glonass, specifically because it has no military application.

So, yeah, you will get an increase in utility. All the world will, considering the deals on inter-operativity of the GPS and Galileo systems.

The reason why they built it despite not having military applications is that... they want it for non-military applications! Is it so hard to understand that on some places the military doesn't always come first?

Europe just wanted a satellite positioning system they were sure to work in the future no matter what happened outside their borders. Galileo will do that, for a marginal cost compared to other government programs.

What's the problem?


RE: come on!
By Ringold on 11/4/2007 4:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, yeah, you will get an increase in utility. All the world will, considering the deals on inter-operativity of the GPS and Galileo systems.


Have any economic studies been done that show that the EU will benefit economically a sufficient amount to cover the cost, or is that a complicating detail? While a commercial pilot here disagreed with me, I still maintain that current systems are fine for the vast majority of uses. Every little bit of extra accuracy allows some pilots to execute approachs at lower minimum decision altitudes, but does the EU exist to subsidize a few special interest groups?

Also, the free signal accuracy isn't exactly a shoot-the-lights-out improvement.

quote:
Is it so hard to understand that on some places the military doesn't always come first?


There is also pride.

quote:
Europe just wanted a satellite positioning system they were sure to work in the future no matter what happened outside their borders.


So then, the African Union, Middle Eastern blocs, Venezeula and leftish South America regimes, right-wing South American regimes, Canada, China, and India -- they all better get their own network up as well, or the nefarious Americans may be spiteful, Russians aggressive, or Europeans just moody (or may surrender at the first sign of trouble).

Maybe even little Micronesia better get a network up! Nobody cares about them, so they better make sure nothing outside their borders impacts their boats ability to shuttle between islands.

All of the above have legitimate reasons for concern about availibility. You see how this logic is self perpetuating?

quote:
for a marginal cost compared to other government programs.


The same can be said of every government program. A little bit more alcohol will make us all feel a little better, but at some point someone has to say no more. Given that it's had trouble getting governments to pony up, I'd say at least some agree with me. Given the budget deficits of some EU nations and signs that the economic uptick may be short lived... there seem to be bigger fish to fry.


RE: come on!
By jamdunc on 11/4/2007 6:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Given the budget deficits of some EU nations


And the US has no budget deficit? What planet are you living on?

quote:
but does the EU exist to subsidize a few special interest groups


No it exists to help the European Union and all it's members. And henceforth, if one day in the future, GPS was turned off, we'd have Galileo to use. It's all about redundancy. Whilst we have both we're better off, but just in case, we still have a great system in reserve.

In reality, I just wish Russia would join the EU and then we'd be unstoppable!! Muahahahaaaa!

But seriously now, please remember it was us Europeans who invented the means for space travel, well, mainly the Germans. :p


RE: come on!
By Ringold on 11/5/2007 12:23:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And the US has no budget deficit? What planet are you living on?


US Budget defict as % of GDP 2007: -1.6%

Britain: -2.7%
France: -2.4%
Greece: -2.4%
Italy: -2.7%

That's just ongoing deficits. Most of Western Europe's outstanding debt is already higher as a % of GDP than the US:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_debt

Check out Japan. Ouch!

And we're fighting a bloody war! Two of them, actually. Three if you count a more vague global one, four if you count the extra money being poured in to domestic defenses. World War III if you just add it all together. What's ya'lls excuse?

quote:
But seriously now, please remember it was us Europeans who invented the means for space travel, well, mainly the Germans. :p


Germans fleeing Germany invented space travel, but yes. I give you that one. :P


RE: come on!
By JohnnyCNote on 11/4/2007 8:04:01 PM , Rating: 2
The competition comes from the Russians' demonstration of how well they are able to launch satellites into orbit, which provides another choice for companies looking to launch their own space vehicles into orbit. The GLONASS system is a means to bring attention to their capabilities in this industry.

If it fails, then they'll lose potential clients, needless to say . . .


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