MOSCOW — The Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Moscow will be the centerpiece of a giant holding that would include two rocket-engine makers and one manufacturer of satellites and launchers under a government-ordered realignment of Russia’s space industry.
The federal government’s Inter-Departmental Commission on Reformation and Development of the Military-Industrial Complex has formally endorsed the Khrunichev center’s plan to integrate Voronezh Mechanical Plant, Voronezh; the Isayev Design Bureau of Chemical Machine-Building of Korolev ; Production Association Polyot, Omsk; and Moscow Enterprise for Equipment Dlina, Moscow.
Khrunichev has secured the consent of these enterprises to become subsidiaries in the planned holding. All of the companies are fully owned by the state.
The Russian federal agencies with oversight of the aerospace industry, including the Federal Space Agency, Defense Ministry, Ministry of Trade and Economic Development, Ministry of Industries and Energy, and the Justice Ministry, have approved the plan, according to an Oct. 17 press release posted on the official Web sites of Khrunichev and Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos). The plan soon will be submitted for formal approval by the prime minister and president, according to the press release.
Khrunichev hopes that the president and premier will approve the plan within one month and that the integration of these companies as subsidiaries will occur before the end of 2006, Khrunichev spokesman Alexander Bobrenev told Space News Oct. 24.
The consolidation “will allow for optimization of workload for industrial capacities … and provide for financial-economic sustainability of the reformed … Khrunichev in the long-term,” the press release said.
Khrunichev already has seven subsidiaries, including the Salyut design bureau, and employs 17,000.
The center makes the Proton rocket — the workhorse of the Russian launch industry — and is converting Soviet-era SS-19 ICBM’s into Rockot launch vehicles. It also has designed and built space station modules as well as small telecommunications satellites. Khrunichev built the recently launched KazSat-1, Kazakhstan’s first telecommunications satellite, won a tender to build KazSat-2 and is cooperating with TsSKB Progress of Samara to build the Belka-2 satellite for Belarus, Khrunichev Director-General Vladimir Nesterov said Oct. 23 at a press conference in Moscow .
Polyot makes Cosmos -3M rockets as well as satellites, while Voronezh Mechanical Plant produces engines for the Proton . The Design Bureau of Chemical Machine-Building manufactures upper-stage engines, including the Proton’s Breeze M and the Breeze KM, which is used on the Rockot. Variants of these upper stages will be used on the Angara family of rockets under development by Khrunichev, Bobrenev said in the Oct. 24 phone interview.
Dlina also supplies parts for Proton rockets.
Bobrenev declined to disclose either the sales projections for the enlarged Khrunichev or the total personnel strength.
At the press conference, Nesterov said Khrunichev currently has annual sales of about $500 million and that the Proton accounts for 30 percent of the international launch market. He said the center plans to carry out at least 11 Proton launches for foreign customers between now and 2009.
One of Khrunichev’s priorities once the holding is formed is to expand the production capacity of the Design Bureau of Chemical Machine-Building. Eurockot Launch Services Gmbh, the Russian-German venture that markets the Rockot vehicle, had to subcontract the launch of Thailand’s Theos Earth-observing satellite to a rival company recently due to production-line problems at the upper-stage supplier.
Nesterov said Khrunichev is prepared to invest up to 1 billion rubles ($37.4 million) for expansion of production of engines for Briz boosters at the Design Bureau of Chemical Machine-Building.
“Otherwise,” Nesterov said, “lacking a 25 million ruble engine we would lose contracts worth 1.5 billion rubles apiece.” Russia’s 2015 Strategy of Development of the Rocket and Space Industry calls for 60 percent of the space industry’s 112 enterprises to be consolidated into six large holdings initially and eventually into three or four.
Roskosmos also has set up one such holding centered around the Scientific Research Institute of Space Device Engineering in Moscow. Another holding will be built around the Scientific Production Association of the Machine-Building in Reutovo, according to Roskosmos’ plans. Yet another holding will be built around the Academician Mikhail Reshetnev Scientific Production Association of Applied Mechanics (NPO PM), Zheleznogorosk, Krasnoyarsky Krai, according to the plans posted on Roskosmos’ official Web site.