Roscosmos is Dead — Long Live Roscosmos!

39 Comments

Vladimir_PutinVladimir Putin signed Executive Order On Abolishing the Federal Space Agency

MOSCOW (Russian President’s Office PR) — In accordance with Federal Law of July 13, 2015 On State Corporation for Space Activities Roscosmos, the President resolved to abolish the Federal Space Agency.

The Russian Federation Government has been instructed to ensure continuity in carrying out the powers and functions being transferred to Roscosmos that had previously been performed by the abolished Federal Space Agency, and to resolve financial, support and other issues pertaining to implementation of the Executive Order.

Editor’s Note: Russia has transformed its space agency into a state-owned corporation that will now control virtually the entire space industry. Whether this change will help solve the industry’s many problems — which include graft, inefficiency, bloat, poor quality control, aging workforce, a shortage of replacement workers, low pay and a lack of innovation  — remains to be seen.  Given Putin’s tendency to centralize everything, it’s probably the only move he could make.

  • Charles Lurio

    A difference without a distinction, just centralizing all the graft, inefficiency, bloat..etc. What a joke. Maybe Vlad can direct even more of the money to himself and his cronies now.

  • DTARS

    He looks a lot like an older Kylo Renn. Maybe he should take the part in Stars Wars 8 or 9.
    No acting necessary.

  • James

    “Whether this change will help solve the industry’s many problems — which include graft, inefficiency, bloat, poor quality control, aging workforce, a shortage of replacement workers, low pay and a lack of innovation”

    The problem is that the Russian government has all these problems. So…..

  • windbourne

    Yup, centralization works so wonderfully. Why China and USSR are 2 great examples of it.

  • Armchair Warlord

    With the mask or without? 😉

  • justchaz

    “— which include graft, inefficiency, bloat, poor quality control, aging
    workforce, a shortage of replacement workers, low pay and a lack of
    innovation —”

    Heh, editor’s note sounds like an interview for copy writer in cold war era propaganda. I have no identifiable love for Putin but as much as we think their country should be run on our clock, they are the ones who have lived through the crumbling of a once USSR, an almost complete failure of their economy, a tidal change of said economy to some form of capitalism which they are still hashing out, a historical ethos marked by a strong man on top, a convincing China next door that is succeeding by vast measure with a hybrid system not beholden to our capitalism or USSR communism and on and on. Yet, they still have a vibrant enough space industry, supplying our military with engines, transporting our astronauts where no one else will do, with a transporter that is still the safest in the world. We can throw out objectivity and start sounding like those ridiculous “Duck, take cover” ads. We can act like we are not sophisticated enough to understand any of their growing pains. We can scorn and prescribe, not allowing them the gestation period we always demand for ourselves in our exceptionalism fantasy. We would be the ridiculous ones.

  • JS_faster

    Who is being reactionary here?

  • JS_faster

    Which is why the Russian governmental agency is being abolished in favor of a state-sanctioned, but for-profit corporation.

  • JS_faster

    Roscosmos is run appreciably better than Rosaviakosmos. As noted, it was about all Putin could do to try to fix the problem. In a period of austerity where they can’t afford two separate space organizations, put the better one in charge of the other.

  • justchaz

    I have much with which to quarrel with Russia. It is tempered by my lived understanding of both sides of the divide. I’d say the editor. 🙂

  • Douglas Messier

    Mmmm….well, each of the problems listed is the post have been discussed publicly by Russian officials over the past five years. I’ve written about them extensively here. I’m not making any of these things up. Nor am I exaggerating the number or severity of the problems the industry faces. This is just reality.

    The real question is whether changing Roscosmos from a space agency to a government corporation addresses will allow the country to really solve any of these problems. Any thoughts on that?

    I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen. The Soviet space program had a certain colorless effectiveness until it started running out of money in the late 1980’s. But, the global space industry today is not what it was during the Cold War. Roscosmos will have to be very nimble to reverse the decline in the program and restore its competitiveness.

  • windbourne

    Why is the editor wrong to point out the issues that not only Doug has seen and posted on this site, BUT, Putin is throwing this together in hopes of solving these exact issues.

  • windbourne

    As to China’s ‘vibrant’ space system, it has nothing to with capitalism/communism, but everything to do with a totalitarian gov. that allows for minor capitalism for dealing with exports. There is NOTHING free in areas dealing with Defense industry, etc.

  • windbourne

    Yeah, that worked well for America in moving all of our main defense industries into 2 main defense, Boeing and L-Mart, and then moving to just 1 launch company, ULA.

  • justchaz

    Editor is not wrong in listing anything he wants. I said it “reads
    like.” propaganda. If you saw a piece of propaganda about the US
    from a Russia or a China, you would immediately recognize it. I think you would be hard pressed to find a
    journalist throw a smorgasbord like that out without expounding on any or give citations to
    lend heft to their claim. Simply dump a pile and go is the way you
    write unencumbered propaganda. The editorial bias on the subject is no news here, which enhances my claim. The “Vladimir, Tsar for life, Putin” jokes are numerous.

  • James

    Yes but Russian corporations already have these problems and if the government is still involved those problems will persist.

  • Douglas Messier

    Yes. Truth is propaganda even when high government officials admit it is truth.

  • windbourne

    Lol. I was in cold war
    I dealt with Soviet bio/chem weapons. I know propaganda. Doug is not doing propaganda.

  • JS_faster

    Just like here, the government is ALWAYS involved, so it will always be a problem. But in Russia, just like here, when the goal is the greatest return for shareholder vs. taxpayer ruble, the former usually wins.

  • JS_faster

    I didn’t say it was a good idea. Only the only realistic one available.

  • justchaz

    Predicting success here is a blind proposition for any of us but short of a front row seat in Putin cranial amphitheater, I think it only makes sense. Gas price depression and their failure to build economic competence would have eroded a lot but the rest, like bloat, slow innovation and low pay have really always been around, so there is little to suggest that current problems managing mature systems are directly attributable. Non governmental control of industry would be the exception to their rule for three generations. It, incidentally, built competencies which fought and still wins in the space race. Aging workforce https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Europe_population_over_65.png that cuts across the entire northern hemisphere is also non unique. The Internet economy has also been lucrative and siphoned off some of their aspiring and emerging workforce. So FSA crux issues being management and funding, folding under-performing streams, in foreseeable austerity, is textbook move to any executive. Putin has proven savvy and this is only the latest in a line of hints and threats he had given in recent years, some of which you have reported on. Spaceworks is of national importance to their psyche. I believe he sees the industry disruption and from his strong man position, intends to maneuver theirs into success. With their European partnerships, historically strong science education emphasis and a streamlined path forward, I will not put it past Roscosmos part deux, under Putin’s heavy handed eye, surprising us in the short term. Angara, Vosto and the new people freighter of any name, would be irreducible parts of that vision.

  • justchaz

    “China’s ‘vibrant’ space system, it has nothing to with capitalism/communism, but everything to do with a totalitarian gov”

    Wow. NASA and US military spaceworks are also entirely government endeavors, funded by a capitalist economy. China’s economy is where the US’ was in the 60s, with an unhatched private space industry.

  • justchaz

    Your premise is a bit wrong. Separate fields.

  • justchaz

    Nice try Doug. Your Putin bent is most evident. The archives to the right don’t lie. A little patience for replies next time. I have other commitments too.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    I suspect that some extracted wrong lessons from the success of Rosatom and a qualified success of OAK. That is why all these corporations are being created. In time some of them will fail, and more importantly Doug’s note is spot on, long term. If anything it’s not extensive enough condemnation. The worst effect of the new Roscosmos, I suspect, will be the strangulation of competitive entreprises, both in the system (such as TsKB Progress) and outside (such as Dauria and Lin Ind.). All that, for an uncertain bet that OAK can be repeated in space.

  • Douglas Messier

    Matter of degree. The problems are much worse than they are elsewhere. And they’ve been going on for at least a quarter century.

  • Douglas Messier

    Well, you got me there chazman. I don’t like Putin, for some very good reasons. And the Russian space program is all fraked up.

    You clearly deduced the former from the previous posts. But then you go and ask for citations on all the problems I’ve listed with the space program. This is a rather odd request because they were in the same posts you clearly read. That tells us a lot.

  • windbourne

    Separate felds, but saw the propaganda during this.

  • Snofru Chufu

    I am sorry, but situation is completly different now compared to cold war times. Now, the USA is the evil empire, which threatens the world freedom.

  • Snofru Chufu

    Putin is 10-times more capable and also a much more trustable statesman as everyone, who is part of present US regime.

  • justchaz

    Ah, catering to me, your only reader I see. New readers can eat cake or go read your earlier posts for context. Misunderstanding “reads like” could bring you comment manna so I won’t blame you because the alternative would be funny.

  • windbourne

    While there are some similarities in that China has the largest economy going and will use it against other nations, that is where it ends. China’s gov allows SOME free enterprise with goods that are exported. The companies that produce only local, and esp. those that are defense oriented, are massively controlled by the chinese gov. That is esp. true of the defense industry.
    China’s space industry is the same way. In addition, China’s space agency is mostly based on buying or stealing other’s technology.
    So, huge differences.

  • windbourne

    No doubt that you would be part of the RAF if it existed today.

  • justchaz

    “It’s an answer but not a very good one”
    “Things may well get worse before they get better.”
    ~ I shall now allude to their failures to show you they could get worse. Now, ignoring that the US has the second worst record, isn’t mine a better answer?

    Superb answer, Dougman

  • justchaz

    Yes. The propaganda was not hidden behind skunkworks, ergo my distinction.

  • justchaz

    So you just reiterated my point about China using a hybrid communist/capitalist system, How else would you want that NOTED difference to manifest, or must they say that is the governmental structure they want but still run by it by your quasi free enterprise clock nevertheless? You know the US does not run an entirely free enterprise economy, don’t you?

    The US bought and stole rocket technology at its naissance and much more overtly too, so what then?

  • Douglas Messier

    Comment manna? The alternative would be funny? Catering only to you?

    What?

  • Douglas Messier

    Thanks. My response was excellent. I’m glad you see it my way.

  • justchaz

    Not cryptic at all. It will come to you still, if it hadn’t already.