Russian Government Investigating GLONASS Contractor For Fraud
Russia's Interior Ministry is investigating a Russian company for alleged fraud for the handling of contracts for Russia's GLONASS navigation satellite system.
GLONASS is Russia's equivalent to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and ensuring the system is fully operational is a very high priority for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The system finally reached full status of 24 operational satellites that are required for three-dimensional global coverage in October 2011 after 15 years of diminished capability. A launch failure in December 2010 that destroyed three GLONASS satellites reportedly led to the firing of several officials of Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, including its director, Anatoly Perminov.
Perminov's successor, Vladimir Popovkin, and GLONASS contractor Russian Space Systems are now in a battle over whether the company misused 565 million rubles ($17 million) designated for GLONASS, according to RIA Novosti. The company is being investigated for signing fraudulent contracts, but reportedly dismisses the accusations.
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