Popovkin: Russian Space Industry Needs Massive Downsizing

Roscosmos Head Vladimir Popovkin. (Credit: Roscosmos)

The Russian space sector has between 72,000 and 92,000 excess workers, which makes the industry bloated and uncompetitive, Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said on Monday.

“The capacity that existed in the Soviet Union is not needed today. There is a lot of obsolete technology that needs to be gotten rid of. It is also impossible to continue to maintain 242,000 workers with the industry using about 48 percent of capacity. The country can’t feed them. There should be a maximum 150,000-170,000 people working in the sector,” Popovkin said.

Popovkin also discussed how to reform Roscosmos, the 200 person space agency charged with trying to oversee the nation’s sprawling space sector.

In order to sort out the space industry, the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) needs to be turned into a state corporation for a period of 5-7 years and then reorganized into a joint-stock company, Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said in an interview in Vedomosti published on Monday.

“The state corporation is needed for a maximum of 5-7 years, in order to clean everything up, create several divisions that produce engines, rockets, satellites for near and deep space. Then it should become a joint-stock company and enter the normal market,” Popovkin said….

“At present, Roscosmos can manage federal state unitary enterprises that can be counted on one’s fingers, all the rest of the enterprises have become joint-stock companies. Both formally and legally they are managed by the Economic Development Ministry through the Federal Property Agency. […] In these conditions, it’s impossible to make normal, systemic reforms,” Popovkin said.

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