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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Space 2009: Russia Will Carry Out 39 Launches

Russia is planning to establish a world record, effectuating a total of 39 space launches in 2009, despite of the current global financial crisis, the Russian chief of the Space Agency said on Monday. "We are planning a record number of launches for next year. We are planning the implementation of 39 launches, with half of these being civil and commercial satellites," said Anatoly Perminov.

Russia conducted 27 launches in 2008 and 26 space launches in 2007, becoming the world leader in this field.

Perminov said that Russia is going to fulfill all of its obligations on behalf of its international partners. "In spite of the difficulties created by the crisis, we are preparing to launch four manned space missions in 2009, instead of two, and we are planning to send payloads on six vehicles for the International Space Station, instead of four."

Perminov said that there would be no changes in the Glonass satellite program in Russia. "We are going to carry out two launches with three Glonass satellites to increase to each orbital grouping of six satellites," he said. The Glonass grouping at present consists of 19 satellites, of which 16 are operational, two are in maintenance and one is going to be removed. The system requires 18 satellites for continued navigation services covering the entire territory of the Russian Federation and 24 satellites to provide services throughout the world.

A total of 9.9 billion rubles ($360 million at the current exchange rate), was allocated for GLONASS from the federal budget in 2007, and 4.7 billion rubles ($170 million) in 2006. Six new Glonass satellites were added to the net in 2008.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a directive on the 12th of September, so that an additional $2.6 billion is allocated to develop the system. Anatoly Perminov said in September that the number of satellites in the Glonass net would be increased to 30 by 2011.

Source: RIA Novosti