Russian media brings news from the Baikonur space complex in Kazakhstan of the successful launch of three new GLONASS space vehicles aboard a Proton-K launch vehicle. This will bring the complement of GLONASS SVs to a GPS constellation well over half of the target 24.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has further announced that he wants to see completion of this russian GPS system by 2008.
Although the two systems are not completely interoperable, combined GPS+GLONASS receivers are available from a number of leading manufacturers. The continued launching of the GLONASS program and it's support by President Putin will be a boon to surveyors using GPS+GLONASS systems here in the United States, and will provide additional availability for added possibilities, to allow increased visibility and availability of SVs.
Meanwhile, another system to keep an eye on is the European Galileo effort. A test vehicle as part of the Galileo effort is being launched at Baikonur tomorrow, according to the Independent. This vehicle, 'Giove-A' or 'Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element A' will establish a testbed and will reserve the allocated region of frequency spectrum for the Galileo effort. Ultimately, the Galileo program will establish a constellation of 30 SVs, going into service in 2008 and expected to be fully operational by 2010.
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