MOSCOW, April 1(RIA Novosti) - Russian lawmakers have endorsed draft legislation to allow the country to set up a satellite navigation monitoring system in Nicaragua, a Cabinet committee said Tuesday.
"The agreement is aimed at creating an organizational and legal framework for mutually beneficial partnership between Russia and Nicaragua in terms of exploring and using space for peaceful purposes," the official statement explained.
Under the agreement, Russia would set up a network of land-based control stations in the Latin American country to monitor and augment the accuracy of navigation satellites in Earth orbit.
It is hoped the system will boost Russia's GLONASS satellite navigation system, the only current alternative to the US's Global Positioning System (GPS) to feature global coverage and comparable accuracy.
The Nicaragua accords also propose to establish a more general cooperation program on space exploration between the two nations, including the allotment of intellectual property rights and procedures for customs controls.
In 2010, Russia finished the deployment of the full GLONASS constellation of 24 satellites, enabling complete global coverage. Since that time, the design of the satellites has undergone several upgrades, with billions of dollars spent on supporting the system.
Above all, the Russian government expects the agreement to require no additional funding. "All costs of setting up and equipping protected sites where technological knowledge can be tested in total security will be covered by partner organizations," the legislative committee that drafted the bill said.
The draft law has been passed on to the government and is set to be debated in the near future.