What is GLONASS?


News in Focus

  • Russia has successfully launched a Glonass-M positioning satellite using a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from Plesetsk space center. With this launch, there are now 26 Glonass satellites in orbit.

What is GLONASS?

  • GLONASS was developed by the Soviet Union as an experimental military communications system during the 1970s.
  • When the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union recognized that GLONASS had commercial applications, through the system’s ability to transmit weather broadcasts, communications, navigation and reconnaissance data.
  • The first GLONASS satellite was launched in 1982 and the system was declared fully operational in 1993.
  • After a period where GLONASS performance declined, Russia committed to bringing the system up to the required minimum of 18 active satellites. Currently, GLONASS has a full deployment of 24 satellites in the constellation.
  • GLONASS satellites have evolved since the first ones were launched. The latest generation, GLONASS-M, is shown in Figure 30 being readied for launch.
  • The GLONASS space segment consists of 24 satellites, in three orbital planes, with eight satellites per plane.
  • The GLONASS constellation geometry repeats about once every eight days. The orbit period of each satellite is approximately 8/17 of a sidereal1 day so that, after eight sidereal days, the GLONASS satellites have completed exactly 17 orbital revolutions.

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