Russia has big plans for its space program, even as it struggles
Russians are finally ready to replace the now ancient Soyuz rocket that has seen the Russian space program through the decades. The rocket was developed in the 1960s and has been used ever since.The Russian Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos as it's more commonly known, has announced plans for a replacement rocket to be available by the end of the decade.
The agency also announced plans for unmanned moon missions and even Mars ones, though those are still a long way off. The priority is building a replacement rocket.
Roscosmos plans to spend some 2.1-trillion-ruble ($69 billion or €52 billion) over the next years on the project and its other interests over the next years.
The Russian Soyuz spacecraft, the capsule carried by the rocket with the same name, is currently the only craft capable of putting humans into orbit and taking them to the International Space Station, after the Shuttle retired.
While new vehicles are being designed and tested, Soyuz will continue to remain the only one for at least several more years. There are no plans to replace the Soyuz capsule, for good reason, it's the safest spacecraft ever built.