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Putin orders completing GLONASS satellite system before 2008


MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he wanted the GLONASS global navigation satellite system ready before 2008.

"The GLONASS system should be created before 2008, as it was originally planned," Putin told government members. "We have the possibility. Let us see what can be done in 2006-2007."

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said three new satellites had been successfully put into orbit Sunday to expand the navigation system.

He said 19 out of 24 GLONASS satellites were currently in orbit.

"I am convinced that by 2008, all the 24 satellites will be in orbit as part of the GLONASS federal target program," Ivanov said.

The president noted however that the satellites should be put into orbit earlier.

The first GLONASS satellite was put into orbit in 1982, but the system was officially launched in 1993.

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