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Minister attacks Russian space agency over failure to build new spacecraft

RIA Novosti

12:06 28/02/2011 MOSCOW, February 28 (RIA Novosti) - Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov accused Russian space agency Roscosmos of failing to manufacture enough advanced spacecraft.

"We failed to make progress in the construction of new spacecraft," Ivanov said on Monday at a Roscosmos board meeting. "To a large extent, the plans have been foiled," he added.

Russia made only five out of a planned 11 spacecraft last year, although the country maintained the global lead in the number of space launches, totaling 31 in 2010.

Ivanov also confirmed that the loss of three Glonass satellites last year cost Russia 2.5 billion rubles ($86 million) in direct damage. Roscosmos has taken partial blame for the accident.

He also proposed that all government-sponsored launches of spacecraft must be covered by insurance at market rates and without intermediaries.

Russia currently has a total of 114 satellites in orbit and will launch another three Glonass-M satellites on board a Proton heavy carrier rocket later this year to complete the Glonass system.

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