October 21, 2008

Russia Increases Space Efforts

Russia is willing to spend billions of dollars in the next three years to strengthen their lead in the space industry, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday.

The ex-president stated at a government meeting that Russia, which is responsible for 40 percent of all space launches, will allocate approximately 200 billion roubles from the federal budget for expansion of the competitive space industry.

Russia's Soyuz spacecraft and Progress cargo vehicles are the major components operating at the International Space Station since the U.S. Shuttle Columbia fall to pieces on re-entry to Earth in 2003.

"It is obvious that this status of a reliable international partner should be constantly upheld," Putin said.

The U.S. space agency NASA will retire the entire Space Shuttle fleet by 2011.

"Evidently ... between 2011 and 2016 the United States will not possess a new spaceship to replace the Space Shuttle," said Anatoly Perminov, in charge of Russia's space agency Roskosmos.

"So Russian spacecraft will bear the brunt of transportation and maintenance works, as well as replacing (ISS) crews and launching European and Japanese cargo ships from time to time," Perminov added.

Putin noted that Russia's space satellites had risen to more than 100 units and will continue to increase. However, he also challenged for more resourceful use of space achievements, cautioning that if not Russia "might lose a promising market on its own land."

Putin stated that the advancement of national satellite navigation system a main point of focus. Other goals of Russia may include geological studies from space, ecological control and checking farming, forest and water resources.


Image 1: Soyuz spacecraft (TMA version)

Image 2: The unmanned Progress M-52 (ISS-17P) spacecraft photographed by the crew of Expedition 11 following its undocking from the International Space Station at 15:16 CDT on 15 June 2005. The spacecraft had previously delivered supplies to the space station before being filled with rubbish and disconnected from the orbital complex, in preparation for its destruction on reentry into the Earth's atmosphere.