Russia is to launch 7 new satellites this year for Moscow's GLONASS navigation system, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
"By the end of the year, we plan on launching 7 new satellites" which will bring the number operational to 27 or 28, Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying. "GLONASS will cover the whole planet," he added.
Russia is to spend 1.7 billion rubles ($58 million) developing the system next year compared to 2.0 billion rubles this year and 2.5 billion rubles in 2009, he said.
GLONASS was initially developed by the Russian military in the 1980s to compete with the US Global Positioning System (GPS), and will in the future face competition from Europe's Galileo.