Ambitious plans

 

Laying out Roskmosmos' plans for the next three decades, Perminov said that Russia's space programme receives less than 10 per cent the funding the US programme receives, yet retains great ambitions.

 

Russia intends to complete construction of its section of the International Space Station by 2015 so that the ISS "becomes a fully-fledged space research centre", he said.

  

"Major modernisation" will also be carried out to the Soyuz craft used to ferry people and cargo to the space station.

 

An expedition to Mars remains a long-term ambition for Roskosmos, which hopes to mount manned flights there after 2035, he said.

 

Many difficulties linked to the planet's extreme physical conditions remain unresolved, however. "Current spacecraft do not provide the protection needed for the crew to survive and return to Earth," he said.