23:41 GMT +3 hours27 November 2014
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Russia to Focus on Its Orbital Cluster Popovkin

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Russia will prioritize the development of its satellites over manned spaceflight, aiming to boost the country’s economy, the head of the Federal Space Agency Vladimir Popovkin said on Thursday.

Russia will prioritize the development of its satellites over manned spaceflight, aiming to boost the country’s economy, the head of the Federal Space Agency Vladimir Popovkin said on Thursday.

“Our main priority is not manned spaceflight, launch vehicles or space infrastructure, but the creation of an orbital cluster that would help improve people’s lives,” Vladimir Popovkin said at a conference in Moscow.

“Farmers, businessmen and individuals alike should profit from results of [our] space activity,” he said, naming weather satellites and the Glonass navigation system as two important components of the orbital cluster to get special attention in the future.

The new priorities are outlined in the agency’s space exploration strategy until 2030, which was filed with the government in mid-March, Popovkin said. He did not specify when the document will be publicly released.

The program seeks to boost Russia’s share of the global space market from 0.5 percent to 10 percent, increasing the number of home-made satellites, sending a man to the Moon, establishing a permanent mission on Mars and sending probes to Venus and Jupiter, according to Kommersant, which obtained the draft of the document.