Russia launched three additional satellites for its GLONASS positioning system today, Reuters reports. The Russian positioning system is similar to the American GPS network, and currently consists of 18 satellites operated by the country's military. GLONASS already provides ground coverage for most of Russia itself, and is expected to expand to 24 satellites—and global coverage—by 2009.
The Soviet Union had first attempted to create its own satellite positioning system in the 70s, but a faltering economy curbed the project. President Putin promises the current iteration is well-funded, and remarked that he hopes to use the system to track his escape-prone dog via a GLONASS-equipped collar.