Moscow, Russia, 26 December 2006 – Russia conducted 45% of the world’s spacecraft launches in 2006, maintaining its leading position, according to the head of the Federal Space Agency.
“Russia’s current share in the spacecraft launch market is about 40%, and counting joint Russian-Ukrainian launches from the Sea Launch platform it totals about 45% of all launches conducted in the world,” Anatoly Perminov said at a year-end news conference.
In 2006, Russia already conducted 24 launches, and plans to launch a Soyuz-2-1B carrier rocket with a Fregat booster and a French Corot satellite on December 27, Perminov said, adding that in 2007 the number of launches will be reduced to about 20.
The head of the space agency also said the United States was in second place in spacecraft launches, with 18 launches conducted in 2006, while Japan and China shared third place with six launches each.
The official said Russia will complete in 2009 the creation of its GLONASS satellite navigation network, which is similar to the U.S. GPS global positioning system. “We have no doubt that in 2009 we will complete the GLONASS network, which consists of 24 satellites, and [precise] navigation will be possible anywhere on Earth,” Perminov said.
He further added that the U.S. will use Russian spacecraft to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station after 2010. “Until 2010, the U.S. will use its space shuttles [to bring astronauts to the ISS], but after 2010 and until 2015-2020 they [the Americans] will fly to the station on board the Russian spacecraft,” Perminov said, adding that Russia will start building its own space shuttles, the Clipper, in 2012.
Perminov said Russia will allocate 24.04 billion rubles ($912.3 million) for the Federal Space Program in 2007. “The budget for the Federal Space Program in 2006 totaled 23 billion rubles ($873 million), and in 2007 it will reach 24.04 billion rubles, without additional revenues,” the official said.