Russian Space Agency to move space launches to French Guiana amid budget cuts

The Russian Space Agency Roscosmos will move some of its space launches from Russian cosmodromes to Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, said Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin.

According to him, the spaceport, which is located in French Guiana on the Atlantic coast, is "a unique location on the equator, convenient for space launches."

"We are likely to load this launch complex, including with our federal launches. We have an interest," RIA Novosti quoted Rogozin as saying.

According to him, the "move" to the French spaceport is needed to reach profitability with the launches of Soyuz rockets. To do this, Russia will have to launch two or three Soyuz rockets per year from Kourou.

In 2022, Roscosmos has planned four launches of Soyuz from Kuru. In addition, the possibility of manned launches is being considered. According to Rogozin, for this, it will be necessary to modernize the service tower.

The Russian government has laid in the draft federal budget for 2022-24 a sharp reduction in funding for the space industry.

The total amount of allocations for the state program "Space Activities of Russia" next year will be cut by 40.3 billion rubles ($570 million), to 210.2 billion ($2.98 billion).

The reduction of the space budget by 16% relative to the 250.6 billion rubles ($3.55 billion) included in the budget-2021 will not be a one-time action but will be spread over the entire upcoming three-year period.

In the 2023 budget, the financing of the space state program will amount to 209.6 billion rubles ($2.97 billion), and a year later - 209.8 billion.

According to the Russian Ministry of Finance, the cost of "the implementation of production and technological activities in the space industry" will be reduced from 20.7 billion rubles ($290 million) this year to 16.7 billion ($240 million) next year, and then reduced to almost zero in 2023-24 (0.4 billion rubles).

The Kremlin has also decided to reduce the federal program "Development of cosmodromes" by a quarter - from 48.5 ($690 million) to 35 billion rubles ($500 million).

Expenditures under the Russian Federal Space Program for 2016-2025 are reduced by 14% - from 130.5 ($1.85 billion) to 112.3 billion rubles ($1.59 billion).

  Roscosmos, Russia