GLONASS

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GLONASS (Russian: ГЛОНАСС, abbreviation of ГЛОбальная НАвигационная Спутниковая Система; tr.: GLObal'naya NAvigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema; "GLObal NAvigation Satellite System" in English) is a radio-based satellite navigation system operated for the Russian government by the Russian Space Forces. It is an alternative and complementary to the United States' Global Positioning System (GPS), the Chinese Compass navigation system, and the planned Galileo positioning system of the European Union (EU).

Development on the GLONASS began in the Soviet Union in 1976, with a goal of global coverage by 1991. Beginning on 12 October 1982, numerous rocket launches added satellites to the system until the constellation was completed in 1995. Following completion, the system fell into disrepair with the collapse of the Russian economy.

Beginning in 2003, Russia committed to restoring the system and by 2010 it has achieved 100% coverage of Russia's territory. Currently 20 satellites are operational, while 4 other satellites are in maintenance and 2 more are spare ones. The constellation is short of a few operational satellites needed to achieve a total number of 24 satellites which will provide continuous global coverage. The GLONASS satellites designs have undergone several upgrades, with the latest version being GLONASS-K.

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