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    Putin calls development of space industry Russia's top priority

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    Development and advancement of the national rocket and space industry is a priority for Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Saturday.

    Development and advancement of the national rocket and space industry is a priority for Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Saturday.

    "From the perspective of the country's defensive capacity the rocket and space industry...is an absolute priority along with the nuclear industry and its military branch," Putin said during a meeting with scientists from Penza's Research Institute of Physical Measurements.

    About 153 billion rubles will be allocated to the national rocket and space industry this year, which is 30 percent higher than in 2010, Putin said, adding that the branch has shown a 18 percent growth even despite the consequences of the global financial crisis.

    "We have the absolute competitive advantage in rocket engineering, many of our partners lag behind us, but in several spheres we have to catch up."

    On the whole, the Russian defense industry complex is globally competitive, the premier added.

    PENZA, April 30 (RIA Novosti)

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