Bold Russian Space Plans Endangered by Plunging Ruble

Vladimir Putin inside of a full-size mockup of Russia's six-passenger "Rus" spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)
Vladimir Putin inside of a full-size mockup of Russia’s six-passenger “Rus” spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)

Russia’s growing economic problems — the result of falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine — are beginning to threaten the nation’s efforts to resurrect its decayed space program:

Russia’s federal space exploration agency Roscosmos could be forced to close down or indefinitely delay whole projects due to the worsening economic situation in the country. The plummeting Russian rouble has rendered the agency incapable of planning their spending ahead of time, national daily newspaper Izvestia reported on Monday.

According to Izvestia, Russia’s Gonets satellite system, launched by the Ministry of Defence and intended to restore Russia’s status as a major aerospace power, may not meet its upcoming deadline for government funding from 2016 to 2025.

“Due to the complete unpredictability of prices in November the scientific engineering council was not able to reconcile anything concerning the orbital system of communication Gonets,” the anonymous source from the central strategic planning of Roscosmos told Izvestia.

Roscosmos’s dependence on EU imports for its satellites and other aerospace projects has made it very sensitive to the exchange rate of roubles to the euro.

Read the full story.

  • Kapitalist

    Lower ruble instead helps their home made space program. Lower oil incomes without lower ruble would be much worse for Russian space industry, since it is very domestic. (Btw, the world is abandoning the USD, I’m afraid that drastic exchange rates might hit the US the most, and how will NASA and the huge US gov deficit be financed when the FED can’t just print money from nothing and spread it all over the world?)

  • ‮‮‮

    They are more endangered by poor management and not knowing what do they actually want to accomplish in the next decade, than by financial troubles (that’s the problem too, obviously).

  • Hug Doug

    85% of all foreign-exchange transactions use the US dollar.

    the US dollar isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    Gonets was a half-dead program for the most of its pointless existence. The recent efforts of turning it into a vialble M2M platform haven’t revitalized it. So, even if its demise were to be prompted by the economic difficulties, I would not point at it specifically as the reason. Also, it’s not a good indicator of general funding problems.

  • Tonya

    And it represent around 60% of all foreign exchange reserves. The relatively small slide it’s seen followed the formation of the Euro.

  • windbourne

    Interesting that they make it sound like this is the west’s fault, or somebody’s other than Russia.
    Russia increased their oil exports before they invaded Georgia and then Crimea.
    IOW, they are partially responsible for the decrease in oil prices.

    Likewise, they got away with Georgia and then Crimea, mostly due to past histories. BUT, Ukraine has belonged to Ukraine for multiple centuries. As such, Russia invites a lot of problems by their agression into Eastern Ukraine. Of course, they really have no choice since there is a LOT of oil/nat gas there. In fact, most estimates show that Ukraine has so much oil/nat gas that if developed and some exported to Western Europe, then Russian exports to there would be cut off.

    However, I really hate seeing this issue. I would rather that Putin stop the BS, and push forward with cooperation esp. in space. Within another 5 years, I think that America via Bigelow, SpaceX, and NASA combined with others esp. ESA, will go for a base on the moon. Far better to have Russia be part of it then outside of it.

  • windbourne

    really kap? Show us some links that says that the world is abandoning the $.

    I agree about the deficit. I am very opposed to it, and believe that we MUST get this under control and soon. However, China manipulates their Rembi against other currency constantly, which means that they will not be the reserves. China also has several bubbles about to burst and their gov is doing everything possible to stop them.

    Euro is too unstable ( which really stinks ).
    Worse, the continued deficits in EU nations is really up there as well, combined with an economy that continues to fall into the drain.

    A number of OPEC members have talked about creating a gold standard for oil/nat gas, which I would LOVE to see happen. It would mean that America will move off oil faster and over to electric and nat gas very quickly.

  • Kapitalist

    Which means that the USD is exposed to a crash potential like no other currency in the history, when foreigners choose to abandon this inflationary debt currency. What will happen to the USD in the US when 60% of the world reserve currency comes home? It will hyperinflate and become worthless. How will the US gov finance its war machine when it can no longer just print money out of nowhere? It will become a junk yard just like the corresponding Soviet war machine after 1989. Nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers will pile up and rust in abandoned marine bases. US soldiers will sell their guns on the street to get money (pesos) for food.

  • Kapitalist

    Russia and China have begun trading in their local currencies. Russia yesterday signed to sell gas to Turkey, with no dollar payments involved. The US gov desperately supports and arms islamist terrorists, notably Saudi Arabia which spends about as much on its military as Russia does, in order to try to keep some USD currency around in the foreign oil trade. When the USD currency standard is abandoned, how will the US gov then finance its budget?

    Europe would prefer its euro to take over parts of the role which the USD has today. The US has no friends when it comes to the dollar.

  • windbourne

    uh, ok.
    First off, Russia is NOT a large economy. They are about the same size as Brazil in GDP (and now, much lower).
    Secondly, Russia has been trading with China using their own currencies for a LONG TIME. That did not just come about.
    Third, for where middles east arms come from and which WESTERN nations:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/10/20111019152444131301.html

    You will note that the above does not show what China, Russia, or Iran has sold, which are much larger than is generally known.
    For example, the common rifle for terrorists is AK47, not M-16s.
    And where does AK47 come from? Well……
    Likewise, more MiGs there than F-16s.

    And you think that Saudi Arabia is nothing but terrorists?

    And the American economy has been growing for sometime.
    How is your nation’s doing?

  • Kapitalist

    My nation is doing great, thank you! But my government is as fucked up as yours.

    The point is not who sells the weapons. The US gov is totally dependant on foreigners using the dollar, the numbers they make up out of nothing. The US gov is happy to support any terrorism, any islamism and any Russian arms exports, as long as they use their printing press dollar.

  • windbourne

    Sigh.
    U sure do have an interesting view of america.

  • Kapitalist

    No, this has nothing at all to do with America. It is how all government necessarily must work. Government is to have a printing press and to cause hyperinflation and depression and bankruptcy. The US is next up now in a very long historical tradition. I feel sorry for you who will lose so very much in the near future.

  • Tonya

    Tip for life: read more textbooks and less internet.

  • Geoff T

    Good grief. I thought Parabolic Arc was relatively safe from the crazies.

  • Tonya

    Well, to be fair, he hash’t mentioned lizard people yet. This is quite tame by Internet standards!

  • Kraki

    Completely. Success is about the people.

  • Kapitalist

    A troll is defined by the fact that it abandons logic and denies reality. A real person would instead have used arguments. Like claiming that governments have NOT often caused hyperinflation by using the printing press power they have taken themselves, or that this cannot ever be repeated again:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation

    Or would’ve claimed that real wealth indeed can be created by simply printing more money units. Or would’ve claimed that there exists no debt crises in the US.

    But no, the true troll just off topic attacks other people personally instead, by typing insults and by avoiding any kind of intellectual interaction, because the troll knows that he is wrong, it simply shortcuts its brain instead of trying to use it to process any information.

  • Geoff T

    No offence but when someone goes on a series of long rambling posts full of both hyperbole and tirades on economics, foreign policy and terrorism then I think they’re allowed to be called out.

    Stay on topic about space related topics, and if you do want to debate finer points of economics don’t go on the ‘Gish-Gallop’ and expect to be taken seriously.

  • ‮‮‮

    People?.. I mean Roscosmos and the whole Russian aerospace industry. There’s no solid agreement on the goals of the national space program among professionals.

  • Tonya

    The only thing I can say in his defence, is that some of the comments I’ve seen on here about European politics have about the same level comprehension. Then again, some of those were possibly by him as well…

  • Kraki

    I was agreeing with you. They have poor leadership.

  • Matt

    In principal, I prefer a multipolar world, which is not dominated only by one
    nation (and its money and military). But, men (both, US-boys and “Kapitalist”),
    come on; leave this political discussions, which is displayed below. Please
    consider human space travel (and that is what this side is about mainly) as
    something, which connects and lifts men (and us here in the blog) and makes the
    world a better place.