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Putin says Russia needs to return its leadership in space exploration

Russia has unique competences in space exploration, the president stressed

MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Russia should make many steps forward to return its leading positions in space exploration, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his Q&A session on Thursday.

"These technologies are developing and they are developing very actively and are being commercialized very actively and in this sense we must make many steps forward, including with regard to the quality of satellites and the quality of equipment. We must return and firmly keep our competence and leadership in launches," the Russian president said.

Russia has unique competences in space exploration: the world’s first artificial satellite was launched by the Soviet Union and the world’s first man in outer space Yuri Gagarin was our compatriot, Putin stressed.

Nevertheless, there is now competition in this sphere, Putin said, citing the example of partners from France and Asia and also from the United States. "This is very good and normal and we are working with all the partners and we have plans of joint work," the Russian leader said.

Putin cited as an example cooperation of Russian and US scientists who are working on the study of the deep space, in particular, such planets as Venus, despite sanctions.

According to the president, there are plans to launch 600 communications and Earth’s remote sensing satellites under the unique Sfera program in the next few years. 

"We have our own program, a very good program, a new program called Sfera, which envisages launching more than 600 satellites in the next few years that will deal with positioning, the Earth’s probing and communications," Putin said.

"This will be generally a breakthrough," the Russian president said.

Speaking about the Sfera program, Putin said that this was yet another area where Russia could make a breakthrough as the quality of communications provided in this way would make it possible to replace cable links and the new network wouldn’t be worse by its quality and the coverage of territories but at the same time would be cheaper and more accessible, the Russian leader said.

"As a whole, this may lead to a revolution in the sphere of communications," Putin said.

The Russian president also outlined the programs of exploring deep space.

"By 2022, we plan to hold the trials of a super-heavy rocket and by 2022 these should be launches in an unmanned mode and by 2024 already manned space vehicles should be used," the Russian president said, stressing that in general Russia had ambitious space exploration plans.

The Russian leader said that Russia would continue pursuing this path. "It is not accidental that we have spent quite substantial funds and resources to create a new cosmodrome in the east of our country," Putin said.

"We will develop it precisely as the civil component of our space activity," the president said.