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JULY 2020

Russia and Angola Signed Space Cooperation Agreement, First GLONASS Station in Africa Incoming

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Russia and Angola Signed Space Cooperation Agreement, First GLONASS Station in Africa Incoming

Soyuz 2.1B rocket being launched into space with a GLONASS-M sattelite. Click to see full-size image

The Russian Federation Council ratified the Russian-Angolan agreement on cooperation in the study and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.

The agreement defines the conditions for the exchange of information and the customs regime for special goods.

The document assumes the development of joint activities of countries in the fields of space research and astrophysical research, materials science, space medicine and biology, communications, manned flights and training, as well as satellite navigation, including the deployment of GLONASS radio stations in Angola.

“On the territory of the Republic of Angola, we are going to deploy a station to coordinate our GLONASS satellite system. It is already in a high degree of readiness, its financing is provided for by the federal space program,” Deputy Director General of Roscosmos Sergey Dubik said.

GLONASS or Global Navigation Satellite System is a space-based satellite navigation system operating as part of a radionavigation-satellite service.

It provides an alternative to GPS and is the second navigational system in operation with global coverage and of comparable precision.

Development of GLONASS began in the Soviet Union in 1976. Beginning on 12 October 1982, numerous rocket launches added satellites to the system, until the completion of the constellation in 1995.

After a decline in capacity during the late 1990s, in 2001, the restoration of the system was made a government priority and funding increased substantially. GLONASS is the most expensive program of the Russian Federal Space Agency, consuming a third of its budget in 2010.

Three groups GLONASS satellites have so far been launched, with the first one, the original GLONASS, remaining in orbit between 1982 and 2005. The second group, the GLONASS-M was launched in 2003 and still remains in operation, the third one, GLONASS-K1 was launched in 2011 and also remains in operation.

The fourth satellite, GLONASS k2, underwent its successful testing phase in 2019 and was expected to be launch in the year, but it wasn’t.

Two more satellites are planned – one is in the design phase – the GLONASS-V and it is planned for ti to be launched in 2023. The other one is the GLONASS-KM and is in the research phase, it is expected to be launched in 2030.

The ground control segment of GLONASS is almost entirely located within former Soviet Union territory, except for several in Brazil. The Angola GLONASS station will be the second country that will host ground control segments, after the South American country.

The GLONASS ground segment consists of:

  • a system control centre;
  • five Telemetry, Tracking and Command centers;
  • two Laser Ranging Stations;
  • ten Monitoring and Measuring Stations.

The conclusion of the contract for space cooperation between Russia and Angola is another proof of the success of international diplomacy in regard to Africa, and it provides an opportunity to carry out various space launches from positions closer to the Equator.

The video below is of a Glonass-M satellite being launched via a Soyuz 2.1B rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.

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