Putin Wants to Track His Dog With Space Navigation System

Russia has launched three satellites to complement its space navigation system, for which President Vladimir Putin said he had a very specific plan: to keep tabs on his black lab, Connie.

The satellites were sent into orbit Tuesday on a Proton-M rocket that blasted off successfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, said Russian Federal Space Agency spokesman Alexander Vorobyov.

They are to join Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System, or Glonass -- the equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS.

Putin on Monday listened to First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as he briefed the Cabinet on the development of Glonass.

Putin then asked, "When will I be able to buy the necessary equipment for my dog Connie so that she doesn't run too far?"

Ivanov responded that collars for dogs and cats with satellite-guided positioning equipment would be available for private consumers in the middle of next year.

Ivanov said Tuesday's launch would bring the Glonass satellite fleet to 18 -- the number necessary to provide navigation services over the entire Russian territory.