Russia Invests in Space

Russian Prime Minster Vladimir Putin’s black Labrador, Connie, has been given a tracking collar linked to the Russian navigation satellite system Glonass, the government website said on Friday.


But Connie’s GPS collar isn’t the only space initiative the Russians are investing in. In fact, Russia is set to spend more that $7 billion on space over the next few years, according to New Scientist Space

The former president, quoted by local news agencies, told a government meeting that Russia, which accounts for 40% of all space launches, would earmark more than 200 billion roubles ($7.68 billion) from the federal budget for development of the space industry from 2009 to 2011.

Russia’s Soyuz crewed spacecraft and Progress cargo vehicles have been the main workhorses serving the International Space Station (ISS) since the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on atmospheric re-entry in 2003….

NASA plans to mothball its entire space shuttle fleet by 2011.

"Evidently . . . between 2011 and 2016, the United States will not possess a new spaceship to replace the space shuttle," news agencies quoted Anatoly Perminov, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, as telling Putin.

"So Russian spacecraft will bear the brunt of transportation and maintenance works, as well as replacing [ISS] crews and launching European and Japanese cargo ships from time to time."

Putin said Russia’s group of space satellites had reached more than 100 units and would rise steadily. 

A good place to explore the Russian space program online is

Russia’s next scheduled launch from Baikonur will lift ASTRA-1M into orbit on 3 November 2008.

Is anything else going on that week?