If it can be said that the 1957 Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite triggered a global space race, then Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's 1961 maiden journey into outer space and orbit of the Earth surely secured Russia's legacy as the global leader in space exploration. This legacy includes technological advances in aerospace engineering, astronomy, physics, microelectronics, telecommunications, and innumerable other byproduct applications. Today, Russia's space industry remains a vital part of economy, involving more than 100 companies employing more than 250,000 people as of 2006, according to the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies. Moving forward, Russia's continued development of its exploratory, commercial, and military space activities will ensure its national competitive advantage in space, accelerate its economic modernization, and enhance its national security.
Russia's potential in the growing commercial space industry is huge. In June, Sergei Zhukov, head of the Space Technology and Telecommunications Cluster at Skolkovo Innovation Centre, described the potential of the commercial space industry: "Indeed, the world economy is becoming more and more dependent on the intensity of space activities. The market for space technology production and services is variously estimated at between $300 billion and $400 billion a year. It has several segments, the biggest being satellite communications and telecommunications (over $100 billion), navigation and distance Earth sensing. Russia's share in these segments is less than one percent. In the production of satellites of various kinds, our share is 7-10 percent. Our share is traditionally high - 33 to 40 percent - in orbiting payloads, but that segment is small, about $3 billion a year."
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