MOSCOW, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Russian government has decided to allocate 24.7 billion rubles (around 811 million U.S. dollars) in the next three years to set up a new space center named Vostochny in the Far East region of Amur, said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Monday.
"I hope that the Vostochny Space Center will become the first civilian national space center, and (will) guarantee full independence of Russia's space activities," said Putin at a meeting after visiting the Energia Aerospace Corporation in Korolyov near Moscow.
"It is important that the new space center will provide service for all prospective space projects, including a manned transport system, new generation boosters and future interplanetary complexes," said Putin as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.
The Russian head of government said construction and operation of the new space center will boost the industrial capacity of Russia's Far East, while drawing capital inflow into the region.
Currently Russia spends an annual 115 billion dollars for renting the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, where the majority of Russian space launches were conducted.
In November 2007, the then-President Putin signed a decree, ordering the construction of the Vostochny space center in the Amur regions.
According to initial plan, a total of 400 billion rubles (13 billion U.S. dollars) will be invested into the space center with an area of 550 square kilometers, where in 2015 the first unmanned space launch will be conducted. The first manned space launch is slated for 2018, and by 2020 all space projects will be headquartered in the space center.