Russia's plan to make the Glonass navigation system fully operational depends heavily on development of spacecraft with sufficiently long lifetimes - seven years or more. As part of this program, Russia launched two Glonass-M satellites - one on December 10, 2003 (NORAD 28112, GLONASS 701) and another - on December 26, 2004 (NORAD 28509, GLONASS 712). The program, however, does not seem to be going very smoothly - none of the new Glonass-M satellites is operational.

One of the satellites - GLONASS 712 - is listed as still undergoing tests, but this seems normal for a new satellite - it took almost a year to complete tests of GLONASS 701 (it was included into the constellation on December 4, 2004). It is the second satellite - GLONASS 701 - that seems to have problems. It was withdrawn from the constellation after less than two months in operation (on January 21, 2005) and earlier today was briefly listed as "completed its mission on February 28, 2005". It is not clear whether this indeed was the end of its service life, for this entry was quickly changed to "temporaly withdrawn from the constellation", but all this is hardly a sign of healthy satellite life.