President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia will spend 1.6 trillion rubles ($52 billion) on its space program through 2020.
Putin made the announcement on Cosmonaut’s Day on April 12 during a visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome under construction in Russia’s Far East Amur region.
Speaking by video link with the International Space Station's crew, Putin said Russia hoped to have the first launches from Vostochny in 2015 and the first manned launches in 2018.
Putin also said the new space port will be open to astronautic experts from all countries.
Russia currently carries out all manned launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Cosmonaut’s Day holiday marks the anniversary of Yury Gagarin’s historic 1961 space flight, when he became the first person to journey into outer space and orbit the Earth.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP