The phenomenon of GLONASS: GPS almost caught up

The breakthrough came in first place in the terrestrial sector of the global satellite navigation system.


The assembly of the spacecraft "Glonass-K". Photo Reuters.

With 2011 Year ends with the federal program for the development of GLONASS. Should be taken a new, dedicated the next stage of building the satellite system. There is reason to evaluate the distance traveled.

Exactly four years ago, I went completely decadent article "In the hope of GLONASS, GPS and customizable" (See "Nezavisimaya Gazeta", 26.12.07). While in orbit were only 18 GLONASS satellites, of which only 13 worked as intended. Civilian GLONASS navigators for the masses did not exist. And I wrote about that GLONASS is not the owner, there is no program of terrestrial components of GLONASS, none of this does not answer. And that requires a clear public policy in this area.

It has been four years — The situation is radically different. Now GLONASS orbital group has 31 satellite, of which 24 working as intended. This means that the satellite component of the navigation system is fully formed, and navigation signal coverage — the whole planet Earth. There was a large number of user equipment, two to three times increased positioning accuracy. Clearly, all this did not happen by magic. How did the slow process of making so rapid?


GLONASS satellite constellation was to be fully rolled back in 2008 year. However, this did not happen. Terms were shifted to 2011 year. But when in December 2010 , the series of three satellites at once "Glonass-M" did not come into orbit and fell into the Pacific Ocean, there were doubts that the constellation will be able to deploy in time. However, additional launches resolved the issue. In addition, 26 February 2011 launched on the third-generation spacecraft "Glonass-K1". He also works as intended and passes flight tests.

It should be noted that the full deployment of the 2008 by grouping navigation satellites would not bring tangible economic dividends. At that time, there was almost no standard user equipment GLONASS, with the exception of a number of developments in the interests of the military, surveyors and transport. In the market reigned supreme American system of satellite positioning Navstar / GPS.

In October 2008 , Vice-Premier Sergei Ivanov, reporting to the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, noted that "sees no problem in the manufacture of spacecraft"And"the biggest problem — is to create a competitive terrestrial consumer equipment. "

According to him, at that time in order to function RF 20 thousand units of such equipment in the civilian sector of the economy. Half, about 10 thousand, installed on the means of transport — planes, boats, trains. And about 10 thousand were either in private ownership or from the municipal authorities or the authorities of the Federation, mainly again on transport — buses, garbage trucks, snow removers. For its part, the Ministry of Defence has purchased about 15 thousand GLONASS as wearable — for humans and for installation on military equipment. The numbers, frankly, miserable.

And here is worth quoting figures further growth embeddable GLONASS transport. If the 2008-m was introduced about 10 thousand systems, the 2009 year — already 50 thousand, and in 2010-m — 100 thousand Expected to 2011 year — at least 200 thousand, but probably a half to two times more. Clearly, in the same proportions occurred and growth of Navigators. But the most important thing — there was a psychological change in the minds of ordinary people and, most importantly, managers at various levels. It is necessary to determine the mass understanding of the spatial coordinates in almost all spheres of activity. This is what is primarily due to the explosive growth of the introduction of navigation systems.

This information should be considered a breach of the important achievements of the GLONASS program. While nearly all Roscosmos continues to maintain the traditional secrecy, developers and manufacturers of user equipment initiated a policy of unprecedented transparency. Literally every step to improve the accuracy of the coordinates, the creation of new electronic items and gadgets have become reason for news media. A general designer of GLONASS Ph.D. Yuri Urlichich available to the press. Only the author of these lines in the last six months, took the Yuri Urlichich two lengthy interviews. A first-hand information is always in the increased attention.

In this case, it is not about public relations and the formation of the market of navigation services. It is in this way creates a need for a new product. And we can talk about an information society cooperation and GLONASS equipment manufacturers through the mediation of the media. The manufacturers through the press brought to the mass consumer information on the improvement of properties and product updates. A consumer, in turn, through the same media gives its opinion, including critical and wishes. Open information policy has become an important factor in the success of the GLONASS program.

In a single fist

General Director — General Designer of the Russian Institute of Space Device Engineering Yuri Urlichich in 2006 He was appointed chief designer of GLONASS. He has more than 20 years, the national system of satellite navigation was derelict, she did not have a single command center. Moreover, the inertia persisted. After all, each of the companies involved in the program, was its director with their interests. And generally work at such a high level to start from scratch with the understanding GLONASS place in the global economy, the direction of development, functions and qualities.


General designer of GLONASS Doctor of Technical Sciences Yuri Urlichich.
Photo: RIA Novosti reported.

The establishment of a user equipment to do this seriously is not compromised. The only customer was the military department and the civil sphere already being used the American system GPS. In this groundwork of modern technologies in Russia was small. So join the competition with fully deployed and operated GPS also had a scratch. However, quickly come to understand that the most competitive consumer dual-system equipment GLONASS / GPS, which is much more accurate individual GLONASS and GPS. In the international market of professional equipment of high-precision positioning over 30% income has acc
ounted for a combined GLONASS / GPS equipment.
It is safe to say that the Russian GLONASS has gained worldwide recognition even before the full deployment of the constellation.

But, says Yuri Urlichich, even the ideal and the world’s best product if it is wrong in the system, no good there will not be. So the first thing he did as the general designer of GLONASS, this together with his colleagues began to find out: what should be included in the system? At that time, it was the spacecraft and the means of ascent to orbit — launchers, boosters, ground control, and a small amount of user equipment of special consumers. There was no fundamental segment or augmentations. Meanwhile, the Americans have unfolded around the world correction and monitoring stations, mainly to improve the accuracy and GPS.

It was a strategic decision to urgently establish and deploy a similar system. Following the decision by the Russian Space Agency and the Ministry of Defence stations GLONASS signal correction were established in Antarctica and on the territory of Russia. Since the system must be equiresistant, such stations to be installed worldwide. But it depends not so much on the hardware makers, but from the Foreign Ministry and government authorities.

In 2009 year at the Russian Institute of Space Device Engineering (RISDE) was established integrated structure, which included eight other companies. Two of them are attached to RISDE, and the remaining six are subsidiaries. So there JSC "Russian Space Systems" — The parent organization in the space industry for a number of critical areas, including those related to navigation and geospatial technologies. It’s GLONASS system, including augmentations, user equipment and ground control, a system for receiving, processing and dissemination of information far sensing, federal, sectoral and regional monitoring of critical facilities, dangerous goods and more.

Combining scientific and engineering forces into a single fist has sharply speed up the whole operation. Along the way, solve a number of technical issues, as we had to deal with even the organization of the production of necessary materials. For example, among the lost in the post-Soviet era technology was the production of a special alloy of copper for the manufacture of traveling wave tubes — the main element of satellite transponder. The company in Kaluga, which used to produce it, no longer exists. Placed an order for three firms, one was able to produce an alloy with the desired properties.

There is also a design center where designed and manufactured its own element base, including VLSI — VLSI. This is a unique small-scale production. In the year comes around 30 VLSI for thousands of rockets, boosters, spacecraft and aircraft. Also, every year, "Russian Space Systems" make the order 50 thousand diodes. These high-tech products have little in common with the simplest semiconductor element. Diode from the "RCC" — a shunt or fastening with 12 layers. We can proudly say that analogues — both in the West and in the East — have the worst performance.

You can designate another factor of accelerated development of GLONASS — the integration into a whole science, engineering and production of power in the corporation "Russian Space Systems". In the same region, and is appointing a chief designer NAP — landline consumer equipment for civilian use, allowing to coordinate and expedite the work. Gained positive experience in the organization of work at the Federal Program "GLONASS" 2008-2011 s wise to keep and implement a similar new program 2012-2020 years.


The system should be established to carry out specific tasks. The exact wording of the tasks on the basis of the concept allows to develop all elements of the system and specifications. "Russian Space Systems" offered the Presidential Commission for Modernization and Technological Development of the country’s economy four projects: "Ka-band", "ERA GLONASS", "Monitoring of mobile objects’ (Which included two sections — "Automatic Identification System for offshore facilities" and "Personal beacons"), as well as "Monitoring of technically complex objects", prepared jointly with the Institute of Physical Measurements. Funding has been allocated only Two projects"ERA GLONASS" and "Ka-band".


The GLONASS system in its current form. Courtesy of JSC "Russian Space Systems".


So GLONASS will in the near future. Courtesy of JSC "Russian Space Systems".

The system "ERA GLONASS" designed in accordance with the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation and is designed to reduce death and injury on the roads by speeding alert emergency services. Time reserved for special codes 941-949. When a car accident, mounted thereon navigation and telecommunication terminal automatically detects the coordinates, communicates with the server monitoring center and transmits information about the accident via cellular communications operator. The operator establishes a connection with the victims, said the details and send the appropriate responders — rescue officers, "first aid", the traffic police. Especially since he directs them, if you do not receive a response, which is typical for heavy road accidents. The driver or passengers can manually turn on the terminal and connect to the operator.

"ERA GLONASS" is already working on a pilot basis in Moscow, St. Petersburg and another paired regions. But in the 2012 year, it should still join 11 domains, but with 2013 , she has already deployed across Russia.

It should be said that in Japan Such a system was launched back in 1984 year, but does not constitute the basis of its satellites, and the special station, which had to equip all highway. Each and every car in the country equipped with a special telematics terminal. It is necessary to state the problem to reduce road deaths to zero. And the progress in this area is very noticeable — deaths from road accidents has steadily decreased.

In USA with 2001 , the project is developed and implemented E911, provides the ability to automatically transmit information about the location of the phone when calling the emergency services 911. The challenge now is to give each victim the opportunity to transfer to the service 911 voice, text and even video from the scene from any communications device, not just a mobile phone. Is created and the system automatically transmit data about a car accident. The test of the U.S. Department of Transportation has completed. Pay attention to the participation of agencies, not directly related to space and the production of electronics.

Go to 2013 year European Union on all new cars
sold in the participating countries, should be installed navigation and communication devices that are activated in a crash and transmit on channels GSM-communication across the room 112 information about the car and its coordinates to the nearest or most convenient point of call. In Germany 2005 Year-connected navigation devices GPS necessarily equip trucks with carrying capacity of 12 tons. And in Sweden with approximately the same time equip trucks weighing more than 3.5 tons. Russia has the potential to have a 2013 year to catch up with Europe and Japan.

Idea of the "Ka-band" belongs RISDE. Its implementation can transform the Russian telecommunications market. The essence of the project — the creation of satellite broadband access to the Internet. You need to run some heavy communication satellites with 26 Ka-band transponders — is the frequency of 27,5-31,0 GHz 17.7-21.2 GHz. This will 97% Russian territory to cover satellite Internet for social price — within 300 rub. month. On commercial terms at a higher price can get high-speed access.

If this project succeeds, it could have revolutionary implications for the development of Russia. There will be a leveling of the information environment across the country. Equal access to communications, remote education, all channels of TV and radio will be the residents of both the capital and the deaf tundra or taiga settlements camps. Urgent medical advice, active involvement of all people in the life of the country, live in the center of the marginal issues, buying and selling online — it’s only a few positive factors are the introduction of new satellite technology. This all can breathe new life into the backward margin, which may soon cease to be enrolled in the backward. By and large, publicly available satellite Internet may be one of the most powerful "locomotives" innovative transformation of Russia, awakening the dormant creative powers of the people who will get support online. Ultimately, we live in the information age where information wielding owns the world.

It is important that the policy of civilian use of GLONASS — a policy of humanism, aimed at improving the quality of life in Russia. However, it is not contrary to the public at the rate of commercialization of satellite navigation. Just business revenue and market development services are the second echelon.


An example is the new project "Social GLONASS", whose goal is to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through the development of a barrier-free technosphere using the latest information and navigation technologies. It includes four major areas that complement each other. The first — is the creation of individual devices to Navigation disabled using the GLONASS system and service centers with disabilities. For example, for the visually impaired, which will guide the system and passing on a given route. Using the same equipment will be monitoring the physical condition of the people and provide them with emergency assistance. That is, each core or hypertensive will always carry an automatic alarm button. It should be noted that persons with disabilities in Russia almost 10% population. Most — from disease. Most of them are in need of an alarm button.

The second direction follows directly from the "panic button." It is a multifunctional complex of different authorized information technology facilities for the disabled, as well as funds for rehabilitation and integration of different groups of people with disabilities. Simply put, it is a constant medical supervision, so that in case of anxiety variations in health status or to provide urgent advice to the specialist.

The third area — the creation of a WAN connection to a disabled could have regular contact not only with the doctors, but also with representatives of the government, social and charitable organizations, educational and counseling centers and just keep in touch with friends in the all-Russian specialized social networks using modern Internet technologies.

Fourth — to the whole system to work, should be set up specialized centers for the provision of information, psychological, medical support and assistance in emergency situations. This requires the development of organizational and technical principles of construction of such centers, and create software that will provide information about the location of the disabled at any time, the collection and storage of biometric indicators of its parameters. This system is then integrated with existing databases and infotelecommunication networks, including the call staff emergency medical and first aid.

The implementation of the project "Social GLONASS" will lead to a reduction in mortality and promote the involvement of people with disabilities in social and economic life, raise their social status. This, remember, where almost one in ten Russian.

Now for the business. All technical development within the "Social GLONASS" have a good market prospect. For example, personal navigation device software for the blind — a ready guide navigator for a foreign tourist. However, as for the domestic, the first time found himself in St. Petersburg or Moscow. Getting lost with the gadget will be impossible. Even a child will not get lost if it is to provide such a technique. Parents and teachers can always locate it. In Japan, thousands of schools are purchasing such navigators, so that children are not lost during the excursions. In Russia, which occupies half of the taiga, it is even more important.

Mass production of navigation devices will reduce their value. A dozen years later, when the technology will come to market next generation, return on invested funds in the form of cheap devices for the disabled. Mass production will lower prices for the products and special forces for the Defense Ministry.

Nowhere in the world defense industry for a long time does not serve as the locomotive industry. Basic earnings everywhere gives mass production for civilian consumption. That it pays for all development and allows you to make purchases of military weapons and equipment at reasonable prices. For example, recently purchased for the Austrian Army sniper rifle "Steyr-Mannlicher" were developed as hunting rifles and as such are in effect. Due to the mass production of their price in Europe is equal to all 1200 euro at a great value.

The same applies fully to the hardware and GLONASS. It is on the basis of mass production can create compact, lightweight, reliable and, most importantly, cheap equipment for soldiers or military equipment. And if we add to it the satellite Internet, you can, for example, to solve the problem of creating a unified tactical control with support for all communication systems. In this case, the Ministry of Defence will be largely spared from costly investments in research and development.

So what can be called the fourth factor the successful implementation of GLONASS. This is a correct statement, the design and implementation of the tasks of the social and other programs. The adopted federal programs are a sustainable fund the implementation and development of GLONASS, keep it systematically and consistently in the shortest possible time.

Three months later, when he begins to work a second satellite transponder "Ray", GLONASS accuracy of about 1 meter. At present, it is 4.5 meter. This was stated by deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Anatoly Shilov. This means GLONASS i
n the accuracy of the coordinates equal to the U.S. system GPS. Now special importance by ground equipment. It is hoped that Russia and will not leave you alone. The successful operation of the corporation "Russian Space Systems" is covering up.

2011.12.23, Viktor Myasnikov.

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