The Baikonur space center, a Russian-leased launch site located in Kazakhstan, was the scene of a corruption case that resulted in the embezzlement of more than 15 million rubles ($456,000), RIA Novosti reports.
Police have opened an investigation into the embezzlement. A conviction would mean up to 10 years in prison for those involved.
Russia’s Interior Ministry described the fraud as “the signing of fictitious agreements,” RIA Novosti writes.
The Baikonur space center is the largest and oldest in the world. Yuri Gagarin, the first astronaut to go into space, took off from the Baikonur launch site.
Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, announced an expansion of its program in January. The $70 billion plan involves launching new satellites and the replacement of its manned Soyuz rocket by 2020.
In May, an alleged $2.6 million fraud was uncovered at the Glonass satellite navigation project, a part of the space expansion plan, according to United Press International.
Cover image courtesy of Bill Ingalls/NASA