Nearly two-thirds of Russia's satellites are functioning beyond their designated lifetime, and scarce government funding makes it impossible for Russia to maintain parity with the United States, space officials said Friday. Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov said that 62 of Russia's 96 satellites currently in orbit already had gone past their expected lifetime.
"It's utopian to think that we can maintain a balance with the United States," Perminov said during hearings in the upper house of Russian parliament, according to the Interfax, ITAR-Tass and RIA Novosti news agencies.
Perminov said that Russia's satellite fleet comprises 40 military, 38 civilian and 18 dual-purpose satellites. He added that of the total number of military satellites, 33 already had served their designated lifetime, according to the AP.
Gen. Oleg Gromov of Russia's Space Forces said that current government funding only had allowed the stabilization of the satellite fleet at a "critically low level." He said that tests of new satellites will be a priority for the space forces next year.
On photo: Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov.
The Kremlin has taken two strong steps in a war of nerves that has caused quite a stir in the NATO-Ukraine alliance