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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cabinet Approves Funds for Glonass

The Cabinet on Thursday approved funding for an ambitious space program designed to establish a functioning global navigation system — Russia's answer to global positioning.

The program, known as Glonass, which was proposed by space agency Rosaviakosmos and five other federal bodies, envisions the creation of a 24-satellite network by 2011 and calls for 23.6 billion rubles (about $800 million) over 10 years, Rosaviakosmos head Yury Koptev said Wednesday.

Although the program was approved in principle Thursday, the actual allocation of funding will be determined in the fall when the State Duma agrees on a 2002 budget.

The existing Glonass satellite fleet is in a dismal state, with only nine craft in orbit and only six or seven of those operational, a Rosaviakosmos official said in a telephone interview.

State funding for space programs has been notoriously erratic over the past decade; it remains to be seen what part of the funds will be paid out.