President Vladimir Putin: (Addressing Sergei Ivanov) Sergei Borisovich how are the plans for building up our satellite system being implemented this year?
Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov: Yesterday under the military guidance of the technicians at Baikonur Cosmodrome the Proton heavy booster rocket accomplished its most difficult mission of the year and launched three new modern space craft within the Global Navigation Satellite System. These three devices are already under the control of the space forces and the Federal Space Agency. The life span of these devices in orbit is seven years, much more than that of the previous generation of these space craft. Thus we currently have nineteen space craft out of the twenty-four required by GLONASS in orbit. We are absolutely certain that, under the auspices of the federal target program GLONASS the Government adopted, by 2008 we will have twenty-four space craft…
Vladimir Putin: We need them sooner. Not all satellites will work for as long as those we just launched.
Sergei Ivanov: Not all of them, but that is normal.
Vladimir Putin: And when you launch them by 2008 it will already be necessary to increase the number of satellites again. For this reason I would like to draw the Government's attention to the fact that our GLONASS system must be created sooner than the date originally planned, by 2008. Such possibilities exist. Let's look at what we can do in 2006 and 2007. We must do this more quickly. And we must make it available for commercial use. Already now we must think about who will use this system and how much. Some of our largest enterprises and even the regions of the Federation already use and have signed up for GPS. We must put our own satellite system into operation more quickly and receive commercial benefits from it, even more so because it is a dual purpose system.
Sergei Ivanov: And the system's input will, undoubtedly, act as a big stimulus to the national economy's development and as you rightly pointed out, this system is a dual purpose one. And in 2006 we will already begin what the Russian Federal Space Agency has already started, that is produce receivers which will be used for technical and transport purposes by the navy. This system will enable rescue operations to take place much more effectively.
Vladimir Putin: There are a lot of opportunities, a great many opportunities—for border guards, protecting biological resources, for railway transport, for aviation, and for space forces.
Sergei Ivanov: Even for everyday consumers.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, even for everyday consumers. There are a lot of opportunities and it is necessary to do everything more quickly. It is urgently required and this is where you can and should invest money if we want to develop the country's economy in innovative ways.