MOSCOW, April 12 (Itar-Tass) - Russian astronautics has an adequate level of financing, although it is many times lower than the level of NASA’s budget, the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), Vladimir Popovkin said at a “business breakfast” at the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily.
The task is to see that “every invested ruble has an efficient return,” he said. Popovkin reminded the audience that a state space program for 2013-2020 has been approved in Russia, and over two trillion roubles are allocated within the framework of this program. “Our budget is comparable with the consolidated budget of the European Space Agency,” Popovkin stressed.
He also said priorities in the development of Russian cosmonautics have been “seriously revised” and one of the main priorities is “to satisfy the demands of the state for space information”. “It is simply impermissible to have such a weak orbit group with such a budget,” the head of Roskosmos said. “At the moment 60 craft of social-economic and scientific porpose are operating in the orbit, and there must be 95 already in two years and 113 by 2020,” he stressed.
“We must obtain all what is necessary from our satellites. And we at the moment ensure with satellite data only one fifth of consumers’ demands,” he regretted. He did not decline to answer the painful question “why do our satellites fall so often?”
He said the main problems are connected with upper stages, whose development “began in the early 1990s”. As an example he cited the Fregat booster, which was designed in its time for launching Luna-16 to the Moon. “A new control system was made. But bases, principles and algorithms were taken from the old one. Another booster, DM, is a derivative of Blok D that was developed for the moon landing N1-L3 program,” he said.
He also reported “that the Progress State Research and Production Rocket Space Center has finished the first cycle of dynamic load tests on the Volga booster for the Soyuz light-class carrier rocket. A lot of things are designed from scratch for these aims. They must be built on different algorithms and designing principles”.