MOSCOW, April 12 (UPI) -- Russia must catch up with other countries in deep space exploration and put a higher priority on space research projects, President Vladimir Putin said.
Russia's focus on manned space flight, which consumes around half the country's total space program budget, comes at the expense of research in other fields, Putin said Friday at a conference on the development of the space industry on Cosmonautics Day.
"We are behind in a number of areas. For example, in remote earth-sensing systems, personal satellite communication systems, and detection and rescue of objects in distress," Putin was quoted as saying Friday.
"Of course we should preserve everything that has been achieved in piloted programs, but there is a pressing need to bring other areas up to scratch," he said.
Putin also called for an increase in Russia's orbital satellite programs, development of new carrier rockets and manufacturing of more powerful rocket engines, RIA Novosti reported.