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Russia looks for commercial space projects

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow : Russia needs to invigorate its efforts to implement commercial space projects jointly with the European Space Agency and individual space powers, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said.

Russia currently uses two launch sites – Baikonur in Kazakhstan, which it has leased since the fall of the Soviet Union, and Plesetsk in northwestern Russia.

Speaking on the Russian Cosmonautics Day, Putin said: “In recent years the Baikonur launch centre has been actively used for commercial space projects.”

“I believe we need to develop this line, work more closely with the European Space Agency, as well as countries that run their own space programmes.”

Global demand for space launch services is high and will continue to grow, said Putin, adding that there are over 20 launch centres in the world, and new launch facilities are being built in China, Korea, Indonesia, Brazil and other countries.

Russia is planning to increase its share of the space market in developing countries from the current three percent to 20 percent by 2030, said Russian Federal Space Agency chief Vladimir Popovkin on this occasion.

Earlier in the day Putin said that a national strategy was needed for the development of the country’s space launch centres.

He said about 150 billion rubles (about $5 billion) will be earmarked for space programmes from the federal budget.