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The head of Russia’s space agency, Igor Komarov, center, attends the launch of Russia’s Glonass monitoring station in Managua, Nicaragua (Roscosmos via AP).

A Russian Satellite-Tracking Facility in Nicaragua Raises Echoes of the Cold War

Thursday, June 8, 2017

On April 7, an unusual ceremony took place on the edge of a dormant volcano not far from the Nicaraguan capital, Managua. Nicaraguan officials joined Russian representatives for the formal opening of a new Russian satellite-tracking station, located barely 1,000 miles from the United States. Presiding over the ceremony was Laureano Ortega Murillo, a man grown powerful by virtue of his parentage. He is the son of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and the president’s wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.

The satellite facility, part of Russia’s Glonass network, a global navigation system in the mold of GPS, was given a name that reveals much about its significance. It is not a Spanish or Nicaraguan name, nor does it honor a Nicaraguan hero. Instead, the station was christened “Chaika,” the call name for Russia’s first woman in space. ...

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