Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov has paid a visit to the corporation Energia /Energy/, the country's leading manufacturer of rocket systems for military and civilian use. Located in Korolyov outside Moscow, this research and production association is "of special importance" when it comes to the strengthening of the space part of Russia's defensive potential, the minister said.
He went on to praise the role of the country's space troops. Formed two years ago, the Russian space troops successfully solve defence-related tasks, apart from their active participation in the effort to realise the Russian space program, he stressed. In the year 2002 alone, the space troops conducted 17 launches and injected into the near-earth orbit 22 spacecraft, including 8 designed for social, economic and research purposes. In all, the Russian Orbital Group has around 100 spacecraft designed for military and double use. In 2006-2010, the group will have up to 50% of double-purpose spacecraft, Ivanov reported.