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    No cut in Russian 2009 space spending, $2.4 bln on 3 programs

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    There will be no cuts in spending for the Russian space industry in 2009, and almost 82 billion rubles ($2.4 billion) will be allocated to three federal programs, the Russian prime minister said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti) - There will be no cuts in spending for the Russian space industry in 2009, and almost 82 billion rubles ($2.4 billion) will be allocated to three federal programs, the Russian prime minister said Wednesday.

    "In the adjusted 2009 draft budget there are no reductions in allotments for the development of the rocket and space industry," Vladimir Putin said at a conference.

    Putin recalled that in the past two years rocket and space industry enterprises have received and spent over 21 billion rubles ($609 million), stressing that half of those funds had been channeled into technical upgrading of production facilities.

    He also urged an improvement in production efficiency and said priority projects should be emphasized, including the Angara rocket and development of new communications, navigation and remote Earth sensing spacecraft.

    Putin said the Russian government will allocate 8 billion rubles ($232 million) to the Khrunichev research and production space center to increase its charter capital.

    The Khrunichev Space Center was founded in 1993 on the basis of the country's major aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers, the Khrunichev Works and the Salyut Design Bureau.

    The premier also said the government will partly subsidize expenditure to cover interest payments on loans for 16 space and rocket industry enterprises.

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