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Russia to shift focus from manned space flights news
18 August 2011

Zhukovsky, Russia: Roskosmos chief, Vladimir Popovkin, has lamented the fact that Russia was spending almost half of its space budget on manned flights and said that there was a need to re-prioritise towards more technology-oriented projects.

The Soyuz-TMA He added however that the country would stand by its International Space Station (ISS) commitments.

Russia holds a monopoly on flights to and from the 16-nation station. The Soyuz rocket service, launched from its Baikonur cosmodrome, is currently the only way to access the ISS ever since the United States retired its 30-year shuttle programme in July.

NASA pays more than $50 million per flight to despatch astronauts to the ISS.

"Unfortunately manned spaceflight accounts for an unjustifiably large part of the budget: It makes up 48 per cent," Popovkin told reporters at the MAKS airshow near Moscow.

He added Roskomos would narrow its focus to satellite communication, navigation systems and meterological study.

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Russia to shift focus from manned space flights