The Russian space agency Roscosmos has prioritized commercial use of its satellites as part of the federal space program until 2015.
“By 2015, we are planning to increase the number of Earth observation satellites [in orbit] from five to 20, operational Glonass navigation satellites from 24 to 30, communications and Cospas-Sarsat satellites from 26 to 48,” Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin told Russian lawmakers on Friday.
Popovkin said Russia occupied only 3 percent of the commercial services segment of the global space market while conducting 40 percent of global space launches annually.
“Therefore, we have reviewed priorities of the federal space program. One of our new priorities is Earth monitoring, weather and communication satellites. Another priority is space science,” he said.
Russia currently has a total of 28 Glonass satellites in orbit, although only 23 of them are operational.
Popovkin said the Glonass satellite grouping will start providing global coverage in a month, when a recently launched Glonass-M satellite becomes fully operational.