How to save Roscosmos from a deep systemic crisis


The space race was once a matter of fundamental ideological and technological confrontation between the two superpowers, the USA and the USSR. But today it is just a business where big, very big money is spinning. And new players are gradually squeezing our country out of its usual positions as a great space power.


So, after the closure of the Space Shuttle program, NASA was not able to independently deliver its astronauts to the ISS. To do this, the United States had to use Roscosmos as a "cab". However, in the 9s, the Americans relied on the development of private astronautics, allocating budget funding to SpaceX and Boeing. As a result, the launch vehicle (LV) Falcon 100 and the Crew Dragon spacecraft from billionaire Elon Musk appeared, which should become the main means of delivering astronauts of the US National Space Agency to the ISS. Also on the way is the reusable space shuttle Boeing CST-7 Starliner, capable of putting up to XNUMX people into orbit at a time. Thus, Washington will soon completely get rid of Moscow's dependence on this crucial issue.

It is interesting to see how the US supports its "private" corporations in practice. Both SpaceX and Boeing received several billion dollars from the state for the development of their launch vehicles and ships. At the same time, the competitive advantage of Elon Musk's company over Roscosmos was constantly and actively declared due to its lower cost of delivery. But now suddenly NASA has decided to sharply, almost 7 times, increase the tariffs for its contractors for the delivery of astronauts to the ISS. In particular, the cost of delivering 1 kilogram of payload to orbit increased from 3 to 20 thousand dollars, and back - from 6 to 40 thousand. The head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin reacted to this as follows:

When the market was "stimulated", i.e. cleaned out of all non-American competitors, then prices can be raised again to an almost natural level.

This is a note to all adherents of the liberal economic theory with its "invisible hand of the market" and incredibly efficient private corporations. Our Roscosmos, which is already in a state of stagnation, is gradually being squeezed out of the market. In numbers, it looks like this: last 2020, the domestic state corporation carried out only 16 launches, taking third place in the world ranking, the first was China with 39 launches, and the second was the United States with 37. The saddest thing is that today Russia no longer has to compete with Americans, Europeans or Chinese, but completely different players.

For example, India is now also entering the low-cost commercial launch market. Not everyone knows, but this country has a very serious and ambitious space program. On February 28, 2021, the Indians launched their PSLV-C51 launch vehicle, which put 19 satellites into orbit at a time. Among them were 13 American satellites and 1 Brazilian one called "Amazonia-1". The customers were very satisfied. To date, New Delhi has successfully launched 342 foreign satellites into orbit. The Indian PSLV competes directly with our missiles. In 2008, using this launch vehicle, 10 satellites were launched at once, which broke the previous Russian record. In 2014, Roskosmos bounced back by setting a new bar in 37 vehicles. But in 2017, New Delhi set a new record of 104 satellites at a time with a PSLV-XL rocket modification.

In addition, India has its own manned space program. Since 2006, the country has been developing a ship called the Gaganyaan, which in 2014 successfully passed a suborbital test followed by a splashdown. The ship is designed to deliver 3 crew members, its next tests are scheduled for December 2021. If successful, India will become a new space superpower, independently performing manned flights. So that's it ...

Now let's get back to our business. It is obvious that the domestic cosmonautics is in a deep systemic crisis. The head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin, in his usual manner, publicly thanked the Americans for giving him a kick:

In the rocket and space industry in Russia, a struggle has begun to reduce costs and optimize the price of Roskosmos launch services. And for this you need to say thank you to the partners.

It is not entirely clear what prevented all this from being done earlier, preventing the country from lagging behind in the space industry. Perhaps it is still worth thinking about changing the leadership of such a serious organization to a more professional specialist, at least having a specialized education and relevant work experience. Dmitry Olegovich, as a basic philologist, is still better off doing something more suitable for him, for example, to work in the Ministry of Culture or in the Film Fund. There, his uncontrollably rushing out creative talents will clearly be more in demand. However, it is obvious that personnel changes alone cannot help matters. The crisis in the national cosmonautics is of a systemic nature. There is also an emerging technological backlog and funding shortfalls caused by budget sequestration and unfair competition practices.

But this does not mean at all that it is high time to give up on Roscosmos. No, it's just time to admit that today it is becoming extremely problematic to pull all this out alone. The time has come for alliances and international cooperation. For example, the agreement on cooperation with China in the exploration of the Moon seems to be very correct. Moscow has both technologies and years of experience, the value of which cannot be overestimated, while Beijing has both technologies and financial resources. The Global Times commented on the alliance's prospects as follows:

They were the first to fly into space, the first to go into outer space, to cope with fires on the ISS, air leaks and other hazards; the experience and lessons learned from these emergencies in the implementation of the lunar science station project will indeed be more valuable than gold.

The joint program will develop spacecraft capable of automatically operating in the orbit and surface of an earth satellite. In the future, we can talk about the creation of a habitable lunar base. But don't put all your eggs in one basket. Also, for greater diversification of possible risks, as opposed to the PRC itself, Russia should go for rapprochement in the field of astronautics and with India, which is gaining strength.
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  1. Tektor Offline Tektor
    Tektor (Tektor) 9 March 2021 14: 23
    0
    And it seems to me that there are no problems with Roscosmos. Everything is decided in the current order. You just need to set the right strategic goals, and persistently move towards them. Those. priority should be in setting goals. If the goals are set correctly, then success will come. Now you need to master the Angara. This is goal # 1. Correctly plan the configuration of Enessei. Plan your orbital station with the simultaneous reception of 4 or more vehicles launched by the Angars. And plan a flight to the moon. Send probes to the Moon, Mars, Phobos. Send space research vehicles. + military.
  2. Dmitry S. Offline Dmitry S.
    Dmitry S. (Dmitry Sanin) 9 March 2021 15: 11
    +2
    How to save? Weird question. Since the 90s, 20 years have not been asked: "how to break it?"
    Another thing is surprising: he lives.
  3. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 9 March 2021 15: 24
    -2
    What a confusion.

    The delivery price has gone up - so "we should be happy" (Putin). Maybe they will go to our trampoline?)))

    And how many of the mentioned "non-American competitors" were there ??? It seems almost not. Someone tried to launch light rockets with our C7, which was disappointed in the sea launch, and in Roscosmos, and in general ...
    Everyone, the rest of all states ...

    And India has already been burned on our Avia, on our Rockets, and it will probably be dancing by itself ... And then the Russian Federation took money, and they disappeared somewhere without the promised result ........
    1. Just a cat Offline Just a cat
      Just a cat (Bayun) 9 March 2021 15: 42
      0
      Let them now wait for Musk to send tourists from India to nirvana laughing
  4. Cyril Offline Cyril
    Cyril (Kirill) 9 March 2021 16: 49
    +1
    It is interesting to see how the US supports its "private" corporations in practice. Both SpaceX and Boeing received several billion dollars from the state for the development of their launch vehicles and ships.

    Sergey, they allocated a little money for the development of Falcon-9 and Dragon specifically (by industry standards). There are two contracts - one (Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)) for development of delivery vehicles and astronauts to the ISS, another (CRS (Commercial Resupply Services)) - to perform the services themselves for this delivery. SpaceX was allocated $ 396 million for development.
    Under the second contract - which for the launches themselves - SpaceX was allocated $ 1,6 billion. But there were also 12 launches on it. That is, 130 million were allocated for each launch of the cargo "Dragon". This is quite an adequate amount, given that at that time Falcon-9 was not yet reusable, and each launch included the cost of both the rocket and the ship.

    But now suddenly NASA has decided to sharply, almost 7 times, increase the tariffs for its contractors for the delivery of astronauts to the ISS.

    Excuse me, but can I have a source that says about this?

    This is a note to all adherents of liberal economic theory with its "invisible hand of the market"

    What's wrong with the invisible hand of the market? The development order was received by SpaceX in competition with other private companies - there were at first, if my memory serves me, about 20. Then some dropped out, there were those who offered a lower price and acceptable deadlines.

    and incredibly efficient private corporations.

    Well, developing a working rocket and a reusable space truck in 4 years (from 2006 to 2010) is not an efficient job?
    1. cmonman Offline cmonman
      cmonman (Garik Mokin) 9 March 2021 17: 26
      -2
      Excuse me, but can I have a source that says about this (increase in tariffs)?

      Source here:
      https://spacenews.com/nasa-hikes-prices-for-commercial-iss-users/
      But since Marzhetsky is a reporter by profession (reports info), and not a journalist (analysis of info), I translated this article with Google.
      The main message is

      Pricing policy since June 2019 did not reflect full reimbursement of NASA resources; it was intended to stimulate the market and it was planned to adjust

      In a statement released without much fanfare on the agency's website, NASA said it is updating the price list "to reflect full refunds for NASA's resource costs." The decision to do so, according to NASA, was based on "discussions with stakeholders, current market growth and the expectation of future commercial organizations capable of providing similar services." After the subsidy was canceled, the prices for these services increased significantly. The cost of transporting one kilogram of cargo to the station, known as "upmass", has grown from $ 3,000 to $ 20,000. The cost of shipping that kilogram back from the downmass station went from $ 6,000 to $ 40,000. One hour of crew working time, which was previously $ 17,500, is now worth $ 130,000.
      "NASA added that the pricing policy applies only to commercial activities at the station. “Other educational, scientific or research and development activities can and should be carried out through the US National Laboratory on the International Space Station. There is no change in the process or cost of these actions. "
      The LEO commercialization policy also allowed private astronauts to fly to the ISS and provided a price list for the resources that such flights would require. This included $ 22,500 per person per day for crew supplies and $ 11,250 per person per day for life support.
      1. Cyril Offline Cyril
        Cyril (Kirill) 9 March 2021 17: 29
        +1
        In other words, launches for the supply and delivery of astronauts to the ISS are carried out at the same rates, while the new rates are, for example, for space tourists or corporate cargo? Did I understand correctly?
        1. cmonman Offline cmonman
          cmonman (Garik Mokin) 9 March 2021 17: 39
          +1
          Quite right! NASA uses the ISS for commercial organizations - they (these organizations) create equipment / stands / materials for experiments / tests, astronauts spend time (paid) on these experiments / tests, i.e. commercial work is in progress, for which you have to pay. Here NASA raised the prices for all this.
          Rogozin and Marzhetsky did not understand, did not figure it out - do they need it?
          1. Cyril Offline Cyril
            Cyril (Kirill) 9 March 2021 17: 47
            0
            As I understand it, the situation is as follows.

            For NASA itself, launch prices have not changed - they have remained the same.

            For companies that order the dispatch of their cargo to the ISS, as well as experiments at the station itself with the participation of the ISS crew and equipment, the price increases.
            1. cmonman Offline cmonman
              cmonman (Garik Mokin) 9 March 2021 18: 07
              0
              For companies that order the dispatch of their cargo to the ISS, as well as experiments at the station itself with the participation of the ISS crew and equipment, the price increases.

              And for these companies it was a very unpleasant decision. From the article:

              The sudden price change, which immediately took effect, caught some ISS users by surprise. The CEO of one company, who did not identify himself because the company is still assessing the impact of the price change, was not aware of NASA's decision to raise prices until he was contacted by SpaceNews.
              “NASA is not very good at engaging with stakeholders,” said Jeffrey Manber, chief executive officer of Nanoracks. "We are in negotiations with clients and suddenly we are notified of a significant increase."
              The sudden price hike, he said, forced Nanoracks to suspend negotiations with two potential customers he said were “knocked out of budget” by the hike.
              1. Cyril Offline Cyril
                Cyril (Kirill) 9 March 2021 18: 09
                0
                Yes, I've already read it in full.

                NASA decided at the expense of them to compensate for the budget cut for the program for the commercialization of space.
                1. The comment was deleted.
    2. isofat Offline isofat
      isofat (isofat) 9 March 2021 18: 33
      0
      Cyril и cmonman, brothers in mind, start saving up money for space flight. laughing
      1. Cyril Offline Cyril
        Cyril (Kirill) 9 March 2021 18: 54
        0
        brothers in mind

        Thank you, that's flattering.

        start saving money for space flight. laughing

        I don’t need, I don’t want to go to Mars.
        1. isofat Offline isofat
          isofat (isofat) 9 March 2021 19: 17
          -1
          Your desire cannot influence the result.

          PS Have you changed your mind about NASA's decision to use a helicopter on Mars? I had the feeling that the gentlemen were lying, and then I had to get out, because the word is not a sparrow ...
          1. Cyril Offline Cyril
            Cyril (Kirill) 9 March 2021 22: 46
            -1
            Have you changed your mind about NASA's decision to use a helicopter on Mars?

            Why did I have to change it?

            I got the feeling that the gentlemen were lying

            What is the reason for it?

            and then I had to get out

            How did the "twisting" manifest itself?
  5. 123 Offline 123
    123 (123) 9 March 2021 20: 24
    +1
    I am not a supporter of Rogozin, especially of his oratory, but will they disappear by themselves with his departure?

    funding shortfalls caused by budget sequestration and unfair competition practices

    Or is everyone satisfied with the work of the Ministry of Culture and the Film Fund, whose management has specialized education and work experience? By the way, the management of the Cinema Fund changed in December, but the names and photographs of the old and new leaders are hardly known to anyone.
    Shoigu has no specialized education or "work experience" in the Armed Forces.

    A lot of money is needed for space, and this requires a large economy. Without this, it makes little sense to rearrange the beds. And about the crisis, in my opinion, a lot has been done in recent years, especially if we take into account the amount of funding.
  6. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
    steelmaker 9 March 2021 20: 55
    -2
    Within the framework of the joint program, spacecraft will be developed,

    We have already created and developed together with the USA. We were used and thrown away. And what will we share our technologies with others again? Life does not teach our hucksters anything!
    1. Cyril Offline Cyril
      Cyril (Kirill) 9 March 2021 23: 08
      0
      We were used and thrown away.

      Who threw Russia off the ISS? O_o USA bears the bulk of the station maintenance costs
  7. space normul, don't just steal money
  8. gorenina91 Offline gorenina91
    gorenina91 (Irina) 10 March 2021 03: 41
    -1
    How to save Roscosmos from a deep systemic crisis

    - Yes ... there is no way to save ... - A happy childhood has ended for the Russian Space; sunny youth and mature, successful time ... - But what remains is ... decrepit old age and ... and ... and contemplation on the part of other people's successes ...
    - From some Baikonur, which never became Russian again and which Great Russia "leases" and pays for each launch ... - Russia is trying to demonstrate something else ... - launching tourists on Soviet missiles still preserved in warehouses ... - But this resource is already running out ...
    - Generally ... - someone "from here" can imagine and seriously perceive such a paradoxical phenomenon even for a minute ... - namely ... - how this huge country can develop its Cosmos; not having their own cosmodrome ???
    - No ... - formally, Russia today has as many as four (five) cosmodromes ... - this is Baikonur ... - a foreign cosmodrome (not to be confused with Kuru, in French Guiana), on which the whole Russian Space; Plesetsk, which performs narrow-profile tasks; Kapustin Yar (from where Belka and Strelka were once launched), which in fact has long been lost as a real cosmodrome and is located on the territory of a closed military state training ground; and finally ... - Free (and Eastern), who really did not "shoot" ...
    - Obviously for posterity ... - all these "ghosts" will go down in history as illusions of failed hopes .... - the hopes of a very weak economic and political capitalist order; with whom Russia fell ill ... - so it can be seen and will disappear ...
  9. Georgij Offline Georgij
    Georgij (Yuri) 12 March 2021 21: 26
    0
    Good article, only the space itself needs to be saved ... the nearest space. Just think about the numbers! How much debris does the Earth hang overhead in terms of the ecosystem ?! And how does this garbage affect the environment? Now we need to think about how to remove trash from orbit, otherwise Ilona and the Masks will master a few yards and satellite winter will come.