Russia to increase space program budget to nearly $70B for 2013-2020


Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said the Proton-M rocket was launched just before midnight Monday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russia plans to increase spending on space exploration and the development of its space industry, the state-run RIA news agency reported, according to Reuters.

The country will spend $68.71 billion on space programs from 2013 to 2010, a big boost from the $3.3 billion Russia spent annually in 2010 and 2011, Reuters reported.

"The program will enable our country to effectively participate in forward-looking projects, such as the International Space Station (ISS), the study of the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies in the solar system," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, according to Reuters.

Critics have blamed a series of embarrassing rocket failures and other crashes on Russia’s inadequate budget, Reuters reported.

On Dec. 9, for example, the Breeze-M upper stage of Russia’s Proton rocket failed, tossing a telecommunications satellite into a too-low orbit, reported. It was the third failure of the Proton heavy-lift rocket in the past 16 months.

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