Budget clears way for Russia to reorganise

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The Russian Federal Space Agency’s (FSA) Rb305 billion ($10.6 billion) 2006-15 space programme was approved by the government on 14 July, paving the way for industrial reorganisation, satellite constellation replenishment and development of the Kliper manned spacecraft.

The 30% increase in funding was demanded by the FSA chief Anatoly Perminov to meet Russia’s International Space Station (ISS) obligations and renew its satellite infrastructure. Under the approved programme Russia will build 18 replacement satellites for its Glonass navigation system. Russia will also launch satellites to provide national television and radio services.

Moscow’s commitment to the ISS involves continuing supply flights and the addition of its final three modules – the science power platform and two research laboratories. Russia is also looking for international co-operation on development of the six-crew Kliper reusable spacecraft.

The 10-year programme also includes a sample return mission to the Martian moon Phobos, But the most significant long-term aspect of the programme is the FSA’s integrated company plan. This aims to restructure the space industry through mergers. Companies such as Energia and Khrunichev are already partially owned by the FSA.

The plan could see these merged with other smaller organisations, along with further share offers.

ROB COPPINGER / MOSCOW