- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2013

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia will spend $50 billion to achieve space supremacy, a plan that includes the building of a new launch pad that will be operational before the end of the decade.

“It’s going to be a great launch pad,” Mr. Putting said, in Agence France-Presse. “It took a long time to choose but now work is fully underway.”

Mr. Putin told crew International Space Station crew members via live link-up that he predicted the first launch to occur in 2015, and the first manned launches in 2018, AFP reported.

The launch site is a cosmodrome currently under construction in the Amur region. Currently, Russia used the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for all its manned launches, but disputes with Kazakh officials about the site’s lease agreement have complicated matters, AFP said.

“There is a big gap between us and other space powers in the technology for so-called deep-space programs,” Mr. Putin said in the AFP report.

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