Putin: Russia Needs “Breakthrough Success” in Space

Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with executives of State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS. (Credit: Russian Government)

Meeting with Executives of State Space Corporation Roscosmos

Vladimir Putin discussed plans for developing the missile and space industry and measures aimed at making the corporation more efficient with the executives of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

I have invited you – this practically new Roscosmos team – to discuss plans for the development of the missile and space industry and specific decisions aimed at making your corporation more efficient.

The amount of work and the scale of objectives are great. I hope that you will approach these goals with the highest responsibility and will work consistently and professionally, trying to reach the best results.

As you know, Russia has always had broad and sometimes unique competences in space exploration. Today, Roscosmos needs breakthrough success in this area and, given the growing global competition, to maintain its position of leadership.

We are well aware that this is not just about prestige. The resolution of several truly vital issues depends on the development of modern space infrastructure and equipment, and the deployment of precision navigation and global satellite communications, such as the creation of the digital economy, the development of logistics and of e-learning, and ensuring security and law and order. Your progress needs to become a major resource for the country’s general breakthrough development.

Let me emphasise that for all the known problems, the missile and space industry has powerful technological and personnel potential, great engineers and scientific schools.

As recently as July 10, our specialists managed to launch and dock the Progress-MS-09 cargo craft with the International Space Station in record time. You cut the docking time in half.

These suggested technical solutions will seriously enhance the effectiveness of our space programme.

Since the space industry is strategically important, please focus on the key tasks at hand. You are aware of them, but I will, nonetheless, go over some of them.

Firstly, we must continue to build up the orbital group. In doing so, it is necessary to drastically improve the quality and reliability of space and launch vehicles, and to create a modern domestic electronics industry in order to extend the service life of our satellites in orbit. We are all aware of the things we should focus on here.

Secondly, it is important to implement a number of major significant projects in a timely manner, including the creation of a super-heavy class rocket complex.

Importantly, all previous deadlines for developing it should be met, and flight tests should begin in 2028 as planned.

There is a similar requirement for the Soyuz-5 medium-class carrier rocket, which, in fact, will become the first stage of the super-heavy rocket. As you may be aware, the Soyuz flight tests should begin in 2022.

Thirdly, I look forward to seeing greater efforts to develop the Angara family of carrier rockets, including the Angara-A5 heavy-lift rocket: as we know, it is of great importance for our country’s defence capability.

For us to be able to launch it, we must expand the infrastructure of the Vostochny Space Launch Centre, proceed with the second phase of its construction, and organise work to build a launch pad for the Angara, the launch of which is scheduled for 2021.

Also, given that the rocket and space industry is currently overly reliant on budgetary funds, it should focus on ways to diversify its output, like the defence industry.

I believe the Corporation can and should ensure a steady flow of revenue from paid services rendered to other sectors of the economy in the sphere of information, navigation and communications. By doing so, we will direct federal budget funds toward the future goals of the space industry.

I am aware that you have high quality and commercially viable projects, such as the new programme Sphere, which, in the next few years, will be used to launch over 600 satellites (I believe, 640 in all) in three stages: by 2022, 2024 and 2028. Under this programme, the new space group should be effectively used in the sphere of navigation, communications and remote sensing of the Earth.

Importantly, domestic businesses and our foreign partners are interested in this project, so we should fully focus on implementing it.

One more thing. In order to fulfill the Corporation’s ambitious plans, it is important to focus on HR policy. I hope that you will not only retain, but also increase the industry’s design and engineering capacity and pay special attention to training young employees. This is instrumental for the success of the space industry and its future. Please take good care of what you have, and, of course, focus on building up the workforce.

Let us get to work.