The Russian government has approved a 10-year space program which will bring new growth and innovation to the Russian space industry which has come out of post-Soviet stagnation. The space agency was granted a budget of $10.5 billion and will aim to develop a replacement for the 38-year old Soyuz manned launch vehicle. Another goal is to send cosmonauts to Mars.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said it was alarming that the industry had lost so much ground over recent years.
"Now we are only catching up with that level which we lost, it is alarming and needs further analysis," Interfax quoted Fradkov as saying at the government meeting.
"Everyone knows what sort of power we had, and it is to be hoped that it is still in our hands."
Fradkov claims plans to develop the space industry may be thwarted by an ageing work force, with an average age of 48. Low wages fail to attract young specialists into the sector.