Russia is getting (even more) serious about space exploration. Vladimir Putin today announced a plan to pump roughly $52 billion into the country's space industry, and floated the idea of creating a special "space ministry," Russia Today reports. "Russia should preserve its status of the leading space power," Putin said in remarks to mark Russia's Cosmonautics Day. "Therefore, the development of our space capabilities is set to be the top priority of state policy."
Russia already has a space agency, but Putin says he'd like to consider expanding it to cover all the country's space industry—since most of the companies are state-owned anyway. The push will aim partially to make up for Russia's deficit in the satellite department. Russia has always thrown money at manned spaceflight, and now that the US generally hitches rides on its spacecraft, it appears to be the global leader there. But its satellite industry lags other developed countries'.