We've already seen the Obama administration announce its latest budget for NASA this week, and now President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia will be spending more than $50 billion on its space-related efforts by 2020. The most immediate result of that will be the completion of the Vostochny Cosmodrome near Russia's border with China, which Putin says is still on track to see its first rocket launch as soon as 2015 and its first manned launch in 2018. With NASA decommissioning its shuttle program, all manned space launches currently take place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (as pictured above), and Putin says the new launch base will also be open for other countries to use.
Beyond that, Putin says that Russia will also have what's being described as a space weapon deterrent system by the year 2030, although specifics on it unsurprisingly remain a bit light for the time being. Russia says it also remains committed to sending cosmonauts beyond Earth's orbit in the future, including to a permanent base on the moon that it says could be used as a future launching pad for flights to Mars. Unmanned missions will precede that, though -- indeed, a new Moon probe is set to be the first launch from the aforementioned Vostochny Cosmodrome.
[Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls]