MOSCOW — Russia's satellite navigation system isn't fully operational yet, but it seems to work on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's dog.
Putin listened Friday as his deputy, Sergei Ivanov, briefed him on the progress of the Global Navigation Satellite System. Then footage broadcast on Russian TV showed them try a collar containing satellite-guided positioning equipment on the prime minister's black Labrador Koni.
Ivanov said that the equipment goes on a standby mode when "the dog doesn't move, if it, say, lies down in a puddle."
Putin interrupted him jokingly: "My dog isn't a piglet, it doesn't lie in puddles."
"She wags her tail, she likes it," Putin said after watching Koni outside his collonaded residence on Moscow's western outskirts.
The navigation system, which goes by acronym GLONASS, was developed during the Soviet era as a response to the U.S. Global Positioning System, but it has been slow to take shape amid the post-Soviet economic meltdown.
The government had promised to make the system fully operational by the beginning of this year, but it was delayed by equipment flaws and other technical problems.
Ivanov told Putin that the system would have 21 satellites by the year's end — enough to provide navigation services over the entire Russian territory.
Ivanov said it would be available worldwide by the end of 2009, for which it would need to have 24 satellites.
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