Russia to adopt long-term space program - Putin

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Russia's Security Council will discuss a long-term space program through 2040, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
KALUGA, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Security Council will discuss a long-term space program through 2040, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

He said a mid-term development strategy for the missile and space industry (until 2015) had been adopted in February, but Russia's space activity required a long-term strategy to attain specific socio-economic objectives.

"This is the only way of funneling our financial resources toward ensuring Russia's long-term interests because some projects cannot be implemented over a period of two or three years, and require long-term planning," he said.

Putin said it was essential to create a market of space services in Russia, which are vital for "such sectors as navigation and geodesy, communications and television, ecology and power engineering, healthcare and education, transport and forestry," especially remote earth sensing, environmental monitoring, mapping, and urban development.

He also said the Glonass system will be up and running before the end of the current year.

Glonass is a Russian version of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), which is designed for both military and civilian use, and allows users to identify their positions in real time. The system can also be used in geological prospecting.

A total of 9.88 billion rubles ($379.7 million) has been allocated for Glonass from the federal budget in 2007, and 4.72 billion ($181.4 million) in 2006.

In December 2005, President Vladimir Putin ordered the system to be ready by 2008.

The head of Russia's Federal Space Agency said earlier that Russia was also in talks with the United States and the European Space Agency to prepare agreements on the use of Glonass jointly with the GPS and the European Galileo satellite navigation systems.

The agency plans to have 18 satellites in orbit by late 2007 or early 2008, and a full orbital group of 24 satellites by the end of 2009, Anatoly Perminov said.

The first launch under the Glonass program took place October 12, 1982, but the system was only formally launched September 24, 1993.

The satellites currently in use have a service life of five years.

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