Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a bid to uplift his country’s space industry, has earmarked over $50 billion to Moscow’s space sector.
During a Friday visit to Russia’s new Vostochny (Eastern) cosmodrome, Putin said that Moscow is set to spend some 1.6 trillion rubles ($51.8 billion) on its space sector from 2013 to 2020 in an effort to compensate for the years of under-investment.
Vostochny, which is currently under construction in the sparsely populated Amur region of the Far East, is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away from the border with China.
In a chat via a video link with the multinational crew of the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian president expressed hope that Moscow would have the first launches from Vostochny in 2015 and the first manned launches in 2018.
“It’s going to be a great launch pad. It took a long time to choose but now work is fully underway,” Putin said, adding that Vostochny would be fully functional by 2020.
A string of launch failures of unmanned probes and satellites have damaged Russia’s space program in recent years. However, Putin promised that Russia would continue to increase its spending on the program.
“There is a big gap between us and other space powers in the technology for so-called deep-space programs,” Putin said in reference to the country’s position compared with other states.
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