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Russia Approves Long-Awaited 10-Year Space Budget

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov participates in a session of extravehicular activity (EVA) to continue outfitting the International Space Station.

The Russian government has approved a long-awaited federal program for space exploration, valued at 1.4 trillion rubles ($20.5 billion) over the next decade, according to an announcement posted on the government's website on Thursday.

The document, known as the Federal Space Program 2016-2025, outlines Russia's major objectives in space over the next ten years and sets funding targets for individual projects. The original proposal requested 3.4 trillion rubles, but economic troubles have forced multiple cuts over the past year.

But Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev pushed for a decision after a year of delays. The TASS news agency quoted him as saying: “It's a large program, but we need such big programs even under circumstances when the economic situation is difficult.”

Russia's space industry is currently undergoing a vast restructuring. Last year, the Federal Space Agency was liquidated and reformed into a state corporation known as Roscosmos. The company is now in the process of integrating Russian space companies under its wing.

The Russian space industry has been struggling in recent years, as brain drain and industrial decay have resulted in strings of high-profile mission failures, tarnishing the once solid reputation of Moscow's space program.

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