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Posted on Feb 24, 04:00PM | IANS
Havana, Feb 24 : Russia plans to increase its share of the global space market from the current 10 percent to 15 percent, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
The plan was first outlined in Russia's state programme for the space industry, published in January.
"We want to be not just a leading scientific power, a space researcher country, but also a player on the space service market," Medvedev said during a trip to Cuba.
He did not give a timeframe for increasing the market share. The state programme published in January has 2020 as its planning horizon.
"We were the first in space, and we believe it's our competitive advantage. But it's impossible not to invest in space. If we just pride ourselves on the launch of the first satellite and Gagarin's flight, we'll simply lag behind," Medvedev told Cuban media.
Russia's prime goals in the field include bringing more satellites into orbit and participating in international launches, Medvedev said.
Russian space industry has been plagued in recent years by a string of failed launches, the latest coming Feb 1, when a Zenit 3SL rocket carrying an Intelsat-27 (IS-27) telecom satellite crashed into the Pacific Ocean 50 seconds after launch.
Space industry sources blamed the incident on a malfunctioning power source.
A revamp of Russia's space industry is in the works, aiming to unite its dozens of enterprises into five to seven major state-controlled holdings.
The government has earmarked 2.1 trillion rubles ($69 billion) on the space programme through 2020, though part of the sum is supposed to come from private investment.