[FPSPACE] NEW [RUSSIAN] SPACE PROGRAM: THE PERIOD OF SURVIVAL IS
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Fri Nov 5 11:24:39 EST 2004
NEW [RUSSIAN] SPACE PROGRAM: THE PERIOD OF SURVIVAL IS OVER
RIA Novosti // November 4, 2004
MOSCOW, (RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Kislyakov) - The 2004
"space year" will end for Russia in December when the government examines a
new comprehensive federal program for the industry for 2006-2015.
The planning was for 10 years instead of the usual 5 years, therefore this
is a new type of program and not only in terms of its length. A recent
report by the heads of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics about Russia's
space activities until 2035 summarized the program: "The space program's
period of survival, when considerations of a mere existence prevailed over
strategic planning, is over. The worst part of the crisis is over and it is
impossible to postpone defining future strategic areas of the development
The report also said: "Any state program, including the space program,
should be part of the general concept of development and consistent with
national values, goals and tasks."
The last program (2001-2006) did not take into account the state's
interests. The traditionally over ambitious goals combined with a small
budget obscured space priorities and created the illusion that one area
(the International Space Station, ISS) was more important than all others.
The new approach to space is more balanced. While speaking at the Federal
Space Agency at the end of October, Academician Nikolai Anfimov, general
director of the Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering, said
Russia's main space priorities included "a greater emphasis on defense
capabilities, expanding orbital constellations, developing space science,
and better ground-based space infrastructure." He stressed the need to
"meet the state's interests in space and make state regulation more
The ISS will not be ignored and Russian manned space flight facilities will
Hopefully over the next ten years Yuri Koptev, head of the Economic
Development and Trade Ministry's defense industry department, will not have
to complain, as he did in 2003, about the dominance of the ISS and Russia's
humiliating role as a carter for it, while space laboratories make
fundamental discoveries and send their results back to Earth via
multifunctional orbital communication systems. Today, discoveries largely
determine the economic success of a nation and its defense capability.
Considering that Russia currently has 60% fewer satellites that it did
during the Soviet Union, one of state's priorities is to develop, purchase
and launch new spacecraft. In late August, Space Force Commander Viktor
Popovkin said, "about 100 Russian-made spacecraft are currently in orbit
and 60 of them are military. The trend of a decreasing number of satellites
in orbit has stopped and conditions have been created for a breakthrough in
the next 3-4 years." According to experts at the State Commission for
Electronic Communication, in order to make a breakthrough, it is necessary
to put 1-2 communications satellites in orbit every year. Then, by 2015 the
group will comprise 450-600 repeaters operating on different frequencies.
This number is sufficient to meet all civilian and military needs.
A large number of launches is impossible without well-developed ground
infrastructure. The federal program pays due attention to the development
of the Baikonur and Plesetsk space centers. Plesetsk will be modified to
launch the new Russian heavy-class rocket, Angara. "Without it the space
center will be relegated to a minor role," said Anatoly Perminov, head of
the Federal Space Agency. This would contribute to the state's policy of
having "an independent outlet to space."
It is difficult for the space industry to accept the state providing 70% of
the new program funding (the state's contribution to its space strategy).
The space industry, which was completely state-funded during the Soviet
Union, would now like to be less dependent on the state. "Of course, it
would be desirable," said Nikolai Anfimov, "for non-state sources [of
funding] to be at least as high as the state's contribution."
On the other hand, properly formulated goals and their state-regulated
implementation will provide more possibilities for a private component of
future space budgets.
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