Sunday, May 18, 2014
Russia lost another Proton rocket a few days ago, bad news for them, but they are also planning to boost the budget of Roscosmos by $52 billion (USD) by 2020.
The current budget is $5.6 billion per year, so an extra $52 billion by 2020 would be more than doubling it, an extra $8.7 billion a year. That makes me wonder whether the "has boosted the budget of its Federal Space Agency by 1.8 trillion rubles ($52 billion)" is actually a bad translation and the agency is actually planning to spend a total of $52 billion by that year, which would also be an increase.
Which means it's time to look through Russian articles on the announcement, and try to read them using both the Bulgarian I know and Google Translate. Here's one:
Общий объем бюджетного финансового обеспечения госпрограммы - 1,8 трлн. рублей. -- Total amount of budgetary financial support to the state program - 1.8 trillion rubles
Россия выделит из федерального бюджета 1,8 млн рублей на государственную программу «Космическая деятельность России на 2013-2020 годы», следует из документа, размещенного во вторник на сайте Роскосмоса. -- Russia will allocate 1.8 trillion rubles from the federal budget to the state program "Russian Space Activities from 2013 to 2020".
In any case, it's an increase. It's apparently being done mostly for modernization (kind of boring but very necessary) and lunar activities (not boring). Let's hope Russia also returns to its previous USSR backyard, Venus.
And on that note, Venus Express is running low on fuel and is going to start aerobraking at as low an altitude as possible: "We have performed previous short ‘aerodrag’ campaigns where we’ve skimmed the thin upper layers of the atmosphere at about 165 km, but we want to go deeper, perhaps as deep as 130 km, maybe even lower”. The aerobraking will take place from June 18 to July 11, and if there is enough fuel left they will take it back up into a higher orbit. Or it may simply not have enough fuel and that will be the end of the mission.
And then in a year, Akatsuki will try to enter orbit around Venus again.