The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) and several other federal agencies have been tasked to revise a recently unveiled 10-year civil space plan prioritizing unmanned satellite programs for telecommunications, navigation and Earth monitoring, and submit the updated version for final endorsement by the federal government by Aug. 15.
President Vladimir Putin’s cabinet endorsed the 2006-2015 program during a July 14 session, but Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov subsequently asked Roskosmos, the Ministry of Economic Trade and Development, the Finance Ministry and a number of other agencies to polish the draft, according to a July 15 press release available at the government’s official Web site.
When revising the 305 billion ruble ($10.63 billion) draft program, these agencies, along with the Russian Academy of Sciences, should focus “special attention” on ways to “strengthen Russia’s positions” in the international space services and technologies markets, the press release said.
The review also will examine development of systems to receive and process Earth-observing satellite data, as well as add environmental-protection requirements to satellite and rocket programs. In addition, the agencies were asked to detail the program funding that would come from federal coffers and from the profits of state-owned hardware manufacturers, the press release said.
Separately, Fradkov directed Roskosmos to review the space industry overall and present findings to the government in the first quarter of 2006, according to the statement. German Gref, minister of Economic Trade and Development, said during the cabinet session in televised remarks that Roskosmos should present a restructuring plan for making Russia’s space industry leaner and more competitive.
In addition to various satellite systems, the draft 10-year program calls for development of the long-delayed Angara family of rockets and modifications to the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle. It also calls for development of a six-passenger capsule called Klipper, which would replace the current three-seat Soyuz TMA vehicle, according to Roskosmos Director-General Anatoly Perminov.
If fully funded, the 10-year program should enable Russia to replenish its satellite fleet and honor its international space station obligations, Perminov said at a July 14 press briefing. Russia also hopes to participate in NASA’s effort to send people back to the Moon, he said.
Turning to military space, Perminov said Russia has allocated an unspecified amount of cash to begin replenishing Russia’s depleted missile-warning satellite system. Perminov, who previously headed the Russian Space Forces, said Russia’s military space expenditures could total 300 billion rubles over the next decade.
Ivan Safranchuk, head of the Moscow office of the Center for Defense Information, a Washington-based think tank, characterized as a “step in the right direction” Russia’s apparent shift in emphasis from manned space exploration to unmanned programs.
“On one hand, we are still ahead of most of the world in manned space exploration, and those who want to pursue such a program would want to cooperate with us. On the other hand, it would have been a strategic miscalculation to devote all resources to this program,” Safranchuk said in a July 22 phone interview.