GLONASS acronym for Globalnaya navigatsionnaya sputnikovaya sistema or Global Navigation Satellite System, is a space-based satellite navigation system operated by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. It provides an alternative to Global Positioning System (GPS) and is the only alternative navigational system in operation with global coverage and of comparable precision.

Development of GLONASS began in the Soviet Union in 1976. Beginning on 12 October 1982, numerous rocket launches added satellites to the system until the constellation was completed in 1995. During the 2000s, under Vladimir Putin‘s presidency, the restoration of the system was made a top government priority and funding was substantially increased. GLONASS is the most expensive program of the Russian Federal Space Agency, consuming a third of its budget in 2010.

By 2010, GLONASS had achieved 100% coverage of Russia’s territory and in October 2011, the full orbital constellation of 24 satellites was restored, enabling full global coverage. The GLONASS satellites’ designs have undergone several upgrades, with the latest version being GLONASS-K.