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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: Huh?
By Ringold on 11/4/2007 12:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
Oh wait, Bush said we were going to Mars!

Why the disdain? I haven't seen Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid take any time out wasting time to deliver any stirring speeches to their fellow partisans to go above and beyond with funding, and the funding they are so generous to give comes with ear marks, binding NASA's hands. It's been a bipartisan failure with Bush at least trying, though Congress failed to deliver NASA even the meager budget increases he requested with the VSE.

But I know. If it rains in Bermuda or a distant star explodes, it's Bush's fault.

RE: Huh?
By JohnnyCNote on 11/4/2007 7:56:21 PM , Rating: 3
You're talking to a long time supporter of the space program, who still believes it was a big mistake to stop exploration of the Moon after just a few visits. One of the most spectacular sights I ever saw was the launch of Apollo 17, the last lunar mission. It went off around midnight on a beautiful, clear fall night. A couple of years later I even handled a moon rock (it was in a sealed container) that was on display at the planetarium where I worked in high school.

However, I also support realistic space exploration. We're about to lose the Shuttle program, so perhaps you'll understand my skepticism when I hear talk of a mission to Mars in the next 20-30 years.

Please refrain from putting words in my mouth and deal with my actual statements . . .

RE: Huh?
By howtochooseausername on 11/5/2007 12:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
Bush at least trying, though Congress failed to deliver NASA even the meager budget increases

NASA's budget today is larger than during the Apollo days, even adjusted for inflation.

A lot of people believe that going to Mars or to the Moon again is just a waste of money. Unmanned missions produce better scientific data and cost a fraction of what a manned mission would.

The cold war is over.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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