Cosmonautics day: Putin congratulating, Roskosmos chief complaining

President Vladimir Putin congratulated the current and retired Russian personnel involved in space exploration and rocket and spacecraft production on the Cosmonautics Day, according to the Kremlin's spokesman.

"We are proud by right of the success in cosmonautics we have made, the success rich in hallmark events, achievements and outstanding scientists and designers," the presidential letter of congratulation reads among other things.

"Excellent traditions and the wealth of technological capabilities allow Russia to be among the leaders in space exploration," the letter goes on.

Putin also said that the current generation of rocket and space specialists developed cutting-edge competitive spacecraft and contributed heavily to maintaining the nation's defensive capabilities and implementing promising international programs.

Meanwhile, Federal Space Agency Chief Anatoly Perminov told RIA Novosti that the Russian rocket and space industry would need to have its financing increased by 6 billion rubles ($1=27.79 rubles) in 2006.

"[If the money is provided], we will be able to replenish our satellite constellation with 26 satellites without slipping behind schedule and carry on completion of the International Space Station," Perminov said. "Every second ruble earned by the Russian rocket and space industry today is earned through commercial programs. However, if we get no 6 billion rubles of state financing in 2006, the ISS will remain in orbit incomplete because nobody will be able to do anything there but us."

According to the Roskosmos chief, the Russian satellite constellation should be replenished as well.

"The United States has 425 operational satellites in orbit, while Russia has only 99, of which 36 are research ones," Perminov said, adding that in 2006-2007 there should be "a 33% breakthrough in financing to ensure 24 billion rubles in 2006."

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