Putin Orders Faster Space Program Guidelines Development

02 Mar 2000 ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, March 2 (Itar-Tass) - Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to expedite work on developing guidelines for the space exploration policy until the year 2005, the presidential press service reported on Thursday.

Putin ordered executive bodies to take practical steps to ensure the effective use of Russia's Plesetsk and Svobodny cosmodromes, the press service said.

The guidelines of the state policy in space exploration will be considered by the Security Council.

On Thursday, Putin said Russia's achievements in space exploration make it "a great country."

"Airspace is an industry neither for prestige, nor for a pretentious grandeur of the country. Rather, it is a fundamental branch of the economic and scientific development," Putin said at a meeting in the Cosmonauts Training Centre near Moscow.

Pointing to high competitiveness of national space research and technologies, Putin said Russia "will comply with its commitments within the framework of creating an International Space Station."

The acting president also voiced his support for the prolongation of the service life of the Russian orbiting station Mir and called the arguments of its advocates "compelling". "We will work on it," he said.

Putin expressed gratitude to all those who had "preserved the Centre of training spacemen and the people's belief that Russia is among the leading powers which have been mastering the universe."

"This must find its expression in concrete actions and the state's consideration for the space branch," the acting president of the Russian Federation pointed out.

"What has been achieved by the previous generations in the field of astronautics, cannot be forgotten or put aside," Putin elaborated.

On his part, head of the Russian state Center of training spacemen Pyotr Klimuk noted that "now all experience difficulties -- spacemen and chief designers also have problems but we have been making efforts and use our knowledge so that Russia prosper, as well as astronautics."

"We understand that at present it is impossible to do without airspace," Klimuk said.

He thanked Vladimir Putin for his concern for cosmonautics and stressed that the acting president of the Russian Federation was visiting the Centre for training spacemen in the year marking the 40th anniversary of its establishment.