Russia intends to keep up with the U.S. in the space race and launch a new manned spacecraft by 2017, a senior Russian space official said on Tuesday.
"We plan to enter the market in 2015 with an unmanned spacecraft and are likely to launch it from the new Vostochny space center. In 2017, a piloted spacecraft should also be developed," Vitaly Lopota, the head of Russia's Energia space corporation, said.
He also described the modern space market as "tough and pragmatic," and said the United States was planning to orbit a new manned spacecraft no earlier than 2017.
Russia will start building its new space center, Vostochny, in the country's Far East in 2011 and should complete it in 2018. It currently uses the Baikonur space center in the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, which it has leased since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia's federal space agency announced in October it had started designing a new carrier rocket to orbit manned flights from Vostochny.
MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti)