December 28, 2012
Russian Space Agency Spending $68 Billion In Next 7 Years
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
According to the state-run RIA news agency, Russia is giving its space industry budget a big financial boost.
The news agency reported that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a plan to spend $68.71 billion on developing Russia's space industry from 2013 to 2020.
"The program will enable our country to effectively participate in forward-looking projects, such as the International Space Station, the study of the moon, Mars and other celestial bodies in the solar system," Medvedev told RIA.
Russia's space program has faced its very own set of troubles since its early-on success with the 1957 Sputnik 1 launch. The space agency's workhorse Soyuz rocket has been a successful endeavour by Russia, but the country has failed numerous times in recent years trying to put satellites and probes into orbit.
Back in August, a Proton rocket launch failure caused the multimillion-dollar loss of an Indonesian and a Russian satellite. A similar problem caused the loss of a $265 million communications satellite last year.
The Prime Minister criticized the state of the industry in August, claiming that problems were costing the country prestige and money.
Russia budgeted $3.3 billion for space programs annually in 2010 and 2011, which is less than the yearly average of the amount, according to Medvedev. He said that some of the money for the newer budget would come from outside the state budget.
NASA has been having to rely on Russia to ferry its astronauts back and forth to the International Space Station since it retired the space shuttle program, giving Russia an extra $60 million a pop per astronaut. However, eventually NASA will have its own form of U.S. transportation again, and Russia will not be able to depend on that money every year. NASA's annual budget generally ranges between $17 billion to $18 billion.