26 febbraio 2011

GLONASS, a lancio la navigazione sat made in Russia

Dopo lo sfortunato lancio del dicembre scorso, con il vettore inabissatosi nel Pacifico, il programma spaziale russo ha perfezionato il lancio di uno degli ultimi satelliti della costellazione GLONASS, il sistema di navigazione alternativo al GPS che opererà in analoghi segmenti della banda satellitare L. La costellazione è arrivata a 22 satelliti su 24 (più 2 o 3 di riserva). Contemporaneamente il mercato prepara il lancio dei dispositivi compatibili con il nuovo sistema di geoposizionamento. I cinesi delal ZTE forniranno infatti ad aprile un nuovo smartphone abilitato al GLONASS, che con il suo prezzo di circa 320 dollari, un terzo rispetto al prezzo dell'iPhone in Russia, punta a un grosso successo commerciale. La Russia vuole fare sempre più da sola nell'ambito dei servizi digitali, tanto è vero che in sede europea è stata anche fatta la proposta di un nuovo standard di radio digitale, il RAVIS, con cui i russi vogliono studiare la possibilità di digitalizzazione della banda FM.

Russia launches Glonass-K satellite

The Russian Space Forces have successfully launched a new Glonass-K navigation satellite from the Plesetsk space center, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Saturday.
The previous launch under the Glonass project in December 2010, supposed to conclude the forming of the satellite grouping, was unsuccessful as the rocket veered off course and sunk in the Pacific Ocean. The loss cost Russia 2.5 billion rubles ($86 million) in direct damages.
The Glonass satellite network is Russia's answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.
The Glonass-K, which has a service life of 10 years, will beam five navigation signals - four in the special L1 and L2 bands and one for civilian applications in the L3 band.
The complete grouping must have 24 operational and 2-3 reserve satellites for the Glonass network to operate with global coverage.
Russia currently has 22 Glonass satellites in orbit and will launch another three Glonass-M satellites on board a Proton heavy carrier rocket later this year to complete the Glonass grouping.

Glonass Smartphones Coming in April

Mobile TeleSystems will begin selling its new Glonass-compatible smartphones in April, a month later than initially announced, and though it is technically less advanced than the iPhone, experts say, the new handset could easily outsell it in Russia.
The MTS Glonass 945, which AFK Sistema main owner Vladimir Yevtushenkov compared to the iPhone earlier this year, will sell for 11,000 rubles ($376) and will be the first smartphone to operate with the Russian navigation system, MTS spokeswoman Irina Osadchaya told The Moscow Times.
The new phone will be produced by ZTE, a major Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer, but the price for it may still be adjusted, the spokeswoman said.
When presented with the prototype of the phone late last year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin joked that it would be good to have the phone ready by International Women's Day, so that Russian women, whom the holiday is supposed to celebrate, could find out where their husbands are.
"From the technical point of view, this smartphone is worse than the iPhone," said Vladimir Karpenko of J'Son & Partners. "The number of iPhones sold in Russia is quite small."
With the iPhone currently selling at 34,900 rubles, it constitute less than 1 percent of the market and will be easy to outsell, especially when the average cost of a cellular phone purchased by Russians is estimated at 4,100 rubles ($140) and smartphones at $320 to $330, Karpenko said.
Experts also point out that selling the new Glonass-compatible phone will require a substantial marketing effort, because the phone's main advantage is supposed to be its navigation system.
"People buy phones not for the sake of their navigation system," said Anna Lepetukhina, telecommunications analyst at Troika Dialog. "The phone is a bit too expensive if you just want to toy with the navigation system."
The Russian government has been cheerleading for Glonass and Yevtushenkov despite a carrier rocket with three Glonass-M satellites sinking in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 5.
The government is now looking into introducing a 25 percent fee on GPS-only compatible equipment, and the Transportation Ministry has already drafted a bill to fine legal entities that own certain types of cars unequipped with Glonass up to 50,000 rubles.

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