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Russia to test 'next-generation' spacecraft


Russia is to test a next-generation spacecraft, build a new cosmodrome and even consider a manned mission to Mars after 2035, the nation's space chief has said.

While outlining the ambitious plans, Anatoly Perminov also said that his space agency's current budget was not enough to finance breakthrough projects and that China might soon overtake Russian space technology.

"The markets are always won by those who have money," Perminov, the head of Roskosmos, told politicians in the upper house of parliament.

"But the finance ministry's policy doesn't allow us to complete projects aimed at winning the foreign market."

Perminov was addressing parliament a day after the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, on April 12, 1961.

He said that Russia would start building a new launch pad in Russia's Far East this year, called Vostochny.

Officials have said the first launches from Vostochny are expected in 2015.

Russia is now using the Soviet-built Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for all its manned space flights and a large share of its satellite launches.

Russia has a lease on Baikonur until 2050 and has paid around $115m to Kazakhstan in rent under a 2004 agreement.


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