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GLONASS (Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System) is the most recent satellite navigation system developed by the Soviet Union and currently in the pre-operational stage. Obvious parallels exist between GLONASS and the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) developed in the United States and also, at present, in a pre-operational phase. In the progress towards operational status, the launch capability for NAVSTAR satellites has been seriously affected by the recent failure of the Space Shuttle Challenger, clearly increasing the prospects of GLONASS reaching operational status first. It is therefore the main purpose of this paper to discuss certain aspects of the GLONASS satellite navigation system, in particular its orbital features and radio-frequency signal characteristics. Comparisons with NAVSTAR are inevitable and for this reason, the paper begins with a brief resume of relevant features of the NAVSTAR GPS system for later reference. The main section of the paper then deals with orbital behaviour, radio frequency signal structure and channelisation using NAVSTAR as a reference point for discussion.