Russia's deputy PM blames space failures on 'moral decay'

Russia's Roscosmos space program doesn't have a lot of cash to waste after its budget was cut by 35 percent in March. But an internal audit found that it flushed $1.8 billion down the toilet anyway, according to the Moscow Times. The nation's deputy prime minister said many of the losses were caused by "acts of fraud, abuse of authority and forgery of documents." Referring to two recent setbacks, including the loss of an ISS cargo ship, he added that "with such a level of moral decay, one should not be surprised at the high accident rate."

Many of the budget overruns happened during construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The facility is badly needed to replace the aging Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a relic from the Soviet days. However, the project has been beset by delays and overruns, and when auditor Tatyana Golikova learned how much money was misused, she said "at first I could not believe my inspectors."

Russia Proton Launch

Russian Proton booster rocket launch at Kazakhstan's Baikonur facility

Even though corruption is rampant everywhere in government, auditors plans to flush out any new violations in the facility's construction. The space program is under particularly close scrutiny because it's Russia's most prominent export and a source of pride among the people. There's also the fact that President Putin recently pledged an extra $1 billion to finish construction of the Cosmodrome and virtually guaranteed it would be done by the end of the year.