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Russia’s still a leader in space exploration–Popovkin

September 10, 2012, 18:07 UTC+3

“Of course, we should change the system of management in the industry,” he said

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GORKI, September 10 (Itar-Tass) — Vladimir Popovkin, the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), said on Monday that Russia was still a world leader in space exploration.

“The analysis of the world space activities shows that today Russia is preserving its status of one of the world’s leaders in space exploration both in terms of developing science and technologies and the market of space equipment and services,” Popovkin told a meeting on improving the quality and reliability of the Russian space sector chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Popovkin said that Russia held leading positions in some crucial sectors of the space industry. He added that Russia hadn’t lost its space leadership and should use its position of a leader for building future development plans.

Popovkin said that Russia should solve a number of problems existing in the space industry if it wanted to preserve its leading positions. The first steps, in his view, should include changes in the way in which the industry is run and managed and removal of blank spots in technologies.

“Of course, we should change the system of management in the industry,” Popovkin said that at present Roskosmos employed less than 200 people which makes running space enterprises difficult and added that there would have been no problems with the quality of space products if the staff had been increased to 400 people.

“There is an impression that space items are assembled at enterprises rather than by Roskosmos. Hence, the quality should be checked at enterprises and not at Roskosmos,” Medvedev, commenting on Popovkin’s remark.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suggested imposing property liability on legal entities for poor quality of products in the space industry.

The prime minister told a meeting that discussed how to improve reliability and quality of space products that over the past 18 months Russia had had six improper space launches.

“This is totally unsuitable. Not a single world leading space power has had so many emergency launches,” Medvedev emphasized.

He also spoke about the recent personnel changes in the leadership of Russian space enterprises. Medvedev said that responsibility for improper quality and emergency launches should be shared by all employees.

“What I mean is monetary responsibility. This is the only way to ensure control over the quality of space products,” the prime minister explained.

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