Roscosmos to Restructure Khrunichev, Replace Management

The reorganization of the Russian space industry continued on Friday as Roscosmos Head Vladimir Popovkin announced plans to create of a new rocket building holding organization and to replace the management of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.

Roscosmos Head Vladimir Popovkin announced the plan in remarks before the State Duma, according to Interfax. The report doesn’t say why the move is being made, but it appears to be an attempt by the Russian space agency to tighten control over the industry.

Khrunichev produces the Proton and Rockot launch vehicles as well as the Briz (Breeze) upper stage. The company is also developing the Angara rocket, a family of boosters designed to loft light to heavy payloads that will replace several existing launch vehicles.

The move will affect the rocket company and its subsidiaries. During the 2000’s, Khrunichev absorbed a number of its key suppliers as part of effort to vertically integrate the nation’s space industry. According to Wikipedia, those companies included:

  • PO Polyot, a rocket manufacturer located in Omsk
  • Proton-PM, an engine maker located in Perm
  • Voronezh Mechanical Plant, which manufactures engines for Proton Stages II and III, Soyuz Stage III and Zenit upper stage.
  • KBKhM, manufacturer of propulsion systems for the Breeze upper stage
  • KBKhA, a contractor for production and design issues.

Khrunichev is the majority shareholder in International Launch Services, a Virginia-based company that markets Proton launches globally. The Eurockot GmBH joint venture handles international marketing for the Rockot booster, which is a converted ballistic missile that launches small spacecraft.

The Proton is a major player in the international launch market, bringing in about $4.3 billion in revenues since 1994. This year, that told was expected to increase to $6 billion.