PARIS — U.S. satellite navigation hardware manufacturer Trimble is creating a joint venture with its Russian counterpart, JSC Russian Space Systems, to market positioning and navigation products in Russia and the other nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Trimble and Russian Space Systems announced May 28.

The Moscow-based Rusnavgeoset company, expected to be operational before the end of June, will focus on products using Russia’s Glonass navigation satellite constellation, Russia’s counterpart to the U.S. GPS system.

The Russian government has been investing heavily in Glonass in recent years. With two more launches, each carrying three Glonass satellites, scheduled for August and November, the Glonass system is expected to reach full operational status of 24 functioning satellites by the end of 2010.

Russian government officials have said their goal is that Glonass spur the same kinds of commercial applications in Russia and the surrounding region as GPS has for much of the rest of the world. They have expressed concerns that if they do not act to secure Glonass’ place in the commercial market, satellite navigation systems in development in China and Europe might, along with GPS, dominate the Russian positioning, navigation and timing market.



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Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.