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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

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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