Russia’s satellite navigation system isn’t ready for prime time

GLONASS has so many technical problems the country’s defense ministry won’t use it.

Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System suffers from so many technical shortcomings that the country’s defense ministry has refused to adopt it as a rival to the United States’ Global Positioning System., a Russian new service, reported that one of 24 GLONASS satellites has stopped functioning and a backup satellite launched in 2008 stopped working in September due to faulty computer chips sourced from Taiwan.

Three other GLONASS satellites valued at $80 million crashed into the Pacific in 2010 and last November an investigation discovered $200 million had been embezzled from the navigation system’s budget.

Until these problems are resolved, the Russian Defense Ministry, along with anyone else on the planet, can pick up GPS signals that provide accuracy within three meters at no cost.