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Russia Turns to Cuba to Gain North American Toehold for Glonass

Published: June 19, 2014 (Issue # 1816)



  • Russia plans to establish Glonass facilities in 36 countries around the world, increasing the accuracy of Glonass's positioning information.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While the U.S. and Russia continue to bicker over the deployment of Glonass navigation stations on American soil and the status of GPS stations in Russia, Moscow has found a way to get its foot in the door to North America by installing Glonass infrastructure in Cuba.

A statement on the Russian government's website on Wednesday said Russia had signed a new space cooperation agreement with Cuba — a country that has no presence in space at all. The only substance to the agreement, which the statement said is "intended to create a legal and organizational basis for mutually beneficial Russian-Cuban cooperation in the field," is Cuba's assenting to host Glonass differential correction and monitoring stations.

If Russia is ever to bring Glonass up to snuff with the U.S.-owned and operated Global Positioning System, or GPS, which Moscow needs to do to effectively utilize Glonass for military and economic purposes, it must have a truly global network of tracking stations. In this regard, Cuba is a beachhead for Russia's satellite technology in North America.

Russia had wanted to base stations in the U.S., but U.S. authorities have been dragging their feet on the issue of hosting Glonass stations for almost a year due to national security concerns — much to the consternation of Russian officials such as Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who last month decided to hold for ransom a network of scientific GPS stations used to monitor continental drift on the Eurasian landmass. Rogozin threatened to shut GPS off from the stations if Washington does not hammer out a deal on the placement of Glonass stations in the U.S. by Sept. 1.

Russia plans to establish Glonass facilities in 36 countries around the world, enabling different stations to compare location data in order to dramatically increase the accuracy of Glonass's positioning information — a technique known as differential correction. Russia hopes that this worldwide network will allow it to achieve a level of parity with GPS in terms of reliability and accuracy for the end-user.

Already Glonass stations have been set up in Brazil and Antarctica, but Russia hopes to establish an additional 50 stations, including in the U.S., to support these ambitions.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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