Russian Defense Cuts Could Affect Space
President Vladimir Putin has assured government and industry space officials that the revised 2009 draft budget, intended to take into account the worsening economic downturn, contemplates no reduction in allotments for the development of new space projects. Almost 82 billion rubles ($2.4 billion) is to be allocated for three programs, Putin said, without saying which ones. However, he said the new Angara launcher would be among the priority programs, along with communication, navigation and remote Earth sensing spacecraft development.
However, the plan, to be presented to the Russian parliament next week, envisions cuts in defense outlays that could severely affect some elements of the space program. Among the potential victims of the plan, which would roll back defense spending from 1.3 trillion rubles to 1.19 trillion rubles, are the new Vostochny spaceport to be built in the Amur region of Russia’s Far East, a launch pad for Angara being constructed at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia and enhancements to the Glonass navigation satellite system.
The defense budget line for spaceports alone could drop by 4.5 billion rubles, industry officials say.
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