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Russia to launch more satellites

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-01-30 10:36

MOSCOW - Russia plans to expand its orbital satellite group from 75 satellites at present to 113 in 2020, head of the Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, said Tuesday.

"We expect by 2015 the orbital group will consist of 95 and by 2020 of 113 satellites," Vladimir Popovkin told students of Bauman Technical University in Moscow.

Popovkin said the space agency would spend one third of its budget developing new spacecraft and engines, including a nuclear-powered booster. "We plan to construct its prototype in 2018 so we could start its testing."

Popovkin envisaged that the new Russian module of the International Space Station could become a separate orbital station.

"We build this module the way it could function autonomously as a small orbital station for scientific purposes," he said.

The official also mentioned Russia might cut the number of carrier rocket launches from Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan after 2016, given Astana's complaints about environmental damage launches have inflicted.

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