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Roscosmos Misses Deadline to Submit New Budget Request

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned the agency to submit a reworked proposal to the government by June 10, or the agency might not receive adequate funding in 2016.

Roscosmos has missed its deadline to submit its revised decade-long budget proposal as the federal space agency battles through Russia's economic crisis and a drastic organizational reform, news agency Interfax reported Monday, citing a source familiar with the situation.

In March, Yury Koptev, the head of the agency's Scientific and Technical Council — a senior internal planning body — said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned the agency to submit a reworked proposal to the government by June 10, or the agency might not receive adequate funding in 2016.

But almost a week past the deadline, "work on the document is ongoing, and it may take another month or two [to complete]," an unidentified Roscosmos official told Interfax. "When it will be delivered to the government, God only knows," the source said.

Roscosmos spokesman Igor Burenkov told The Moscow Times that the plan would be submitted to the government this fall, and denied that there were any problems with putting the budget together.

"Everything is going according to plan, the [Federal Space Program] has been going through an approval process since May 2015 by various ministries and departments," Burenkov said.

The Federal Space Program for 2016-2025 was supposed to be submitted last year, but has been repeatedly revised as low oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis drive Russia toward an expected 3 percent economic contraction this year.

Roscosmos's plans have also been muddled by a massive government-mandated reform project that will see the agency run every aspect of space exploration, from rocket production to scientific research.

In March, Koptev said that Roscosmos would request a 3.4 trillion ruble ($62 billion) budget for the next decade, but three weeks later an agency statement said the request had been cut to 2 trillion rubles ($36 billion) — an astonishing 41 percent reduction.

Koptev described the lower funding level as "the absolute minimum for guaranteeing that we achieve [our] established objectives," which several agency officials over the last year have described as building a new space station, building a super-heavy rocket, and exploring the moon.

Contact the author at m.bodner@imedia.ru

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