Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced that the government will spend 115 billion rubles ($3.8 billion) on national space programs in 2011, RIA Novosti reports. Putin said that Russia’s space plans include:
Launch of about 50 spacecraft in 2011
Long-range development of the GLONASS navigational system until 2020
Long-term plan to increase global market share through development of new automated and human spacecraft
Construction of a new spaceport in the Russian Far East.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired RSC Energia’s vice president Vyacheslav Filin and Roskosmos Deputy Head Victor Remishevsky over the Dec. 5 failure of a Proton rocket, which sent three expensive GLONASS navigation satellites to the bottom of the Pacific. The Russian leader also reprimanded Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov.
The failure resulted from the fourth stage transfer module being overloaded with fuel, causing the first three stages to under perform. The failure was deeply embarrassing to the Russian government because the three satellites would have completed the 24-satellite GLONASS constellation, allowing it to provide full global coverage for the first time. GLONASS is the Russian equivalent of the American Global Positioning System (GPS).
The Russian government has been eager to recover its Soviet-era space prowess and to prove that it can equal the technological achievements of the United States and other Western powers. Officials are making a major push to install receivers on buses, cars and other vehicles both domestically and aboard. The government is working with India and a number of countries that formed the former Soviet Union to install receivers there.