The Russian government stopped funding the state-owned operator of the GLONASS satellite navigation system this year as it has become financially self-sufficient, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Tuesday.
"This is very important as it demonstrates the success of the decision to commercialize the products created by Russian orbital systems," Rogozin told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting, according to the Kremlin.
GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) is a rival of U.S. GPS and Europe's Galileo systems and is designed to provide real time position and velocity determination for military and civilian users.
According to Rogozin, GLONASS uses 24 satellites, including one of a new generation, as well as another one kept in the orbit as a reserve. Russia also stores six satellites on the ground, ready to be launched in case of an emergency.
With the first satellite launched in 1982, GLONASS has closed the gap with GPS and it is now as accurate as the U.S. system, Rogozin said.
He said that the market of Russia's satellite navigation equipment rocketed to 15 billion rubles (about 244 million U.S. dollars) in 2017 from 2.4 billion rubles (about 39 million dollars) in 2015.
He said that so far GLONASS equipment has been installed on 107 airfields, 76 ports, 8,791 vessels, 670 aircraft, and more than 1.8 million vehicles.