December 30, 2005 -- Livermore, CA – Users of Topcon Positioning Systems GPS+ technology can now access three additional GLONASS satellites following a Christmas Day launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Topcon GPS+ is the only dual frequency satellite-based precision positioning system that allows its users the option to access both the GPS and GLONASS satellite constellations, virtually eliminating jobsite downtime due to weak or obstructed satellite reception.
The launch, which increased the number of GLONASS satellites to 17 (with GPS, the total satellites available to Topcon users is 41), is the first of a series of satellite placements the Russian Federal Space Agency has scheduled in the next two years to bring the GLONASS system to full deployment.
Two of the satellites are the new M-series, which have a longer orbit-life – seven to eight years -- compared to about three years for older models. Future launches will include GLONASS satellites designed to remain in orbit for up to 10 years.
Following the launch, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted the GLONASS system, which will have 24 operational satellites, to be fully deployed within the next two years.
Topcon’s GPS+ system now allows “access to more than 50 percent more satellites than GPS-only systems, “ Ray O’Connor, TPS chief executive officer, said. “This is critically important as precision operations require constant access to a minimum of five satellites. The more satellites a user has access to, the less downtime, less signal degradation, and the more work that can be completed without interruption.”
O’Connor said, “When you are talking about satellite positioning technology, there’s absolutely no reason not to use every available satellite signal. To do anything less just doesn’t make sense. With the proven performance and accuracy advantages the thousands of Topcon customers see with their systems every day, it’s clear that the addition of GLONASS to traditional GPS-only positioning is a better solution.”