Heavenly firmament "Roscosmos"
During the three years of Roscosmos reform, the situation in the national space industry has deteriorated markedly, even in those areas where strong leadership previously remained. The number of launches is reduced; "Proton-M" does not fly for almost a year, its price is no longer the most attractive on the world market; start-up reliability is not growing; the reduction of the Russian crew on the ISS is coming; The United States does not plan to renew orders for RD-180 engines; the next launch of a recent pride, the Angara rocket, is postponed until 2018; budgetary funding necessary for the technical re-equipment of the industry is not allocated to the extent required.
There are, of course, positive developments, but they look like episodic victories on a lost front. Roscosmos is also in a crisis of self-determination. Even the leadership is not able to give a clear answer to the question: why do we need space?
On March 31, a meeting of the expert council “On the development strategy of the state corporation“ Roskosmos ”for the period up to 2025 and the perspective until 2030 was held in Roskosmos.At the meeting, they set goals and objectives for future development, chose priorities, drew attention to global trends, talked about attracting new personnel and increasing productivity. In general, the strategic meeting should be called tactical, because they spoke only about the growth of quantitative indicators and none of the participants tried to assess the causes of the current ideological and technological impasse.
In the world, the situation is quite different: the cosmos has long been transformed from a state activity into a business environment. At the beginning of the twenty-first century. The annual volume of the space market exceeded the annual volumes of all state budgets allocated to space. Now the share of public funds in the global space market is about 25%. Every year the market grows by no less than 5%, and now its turnover is estimated at about $ 330 billion (according to the Space Foundation). This is more than NASA spent on the Apollo lunar program for 10 years. It was not long to wait for the commercial space to compensate for all capital expenditures on the space program of mankind.
In order to roughly estimate the investment of humanity in the space program, you can take the cost of NASA and multiply by two. We will get about $ 1.8 trillion at the current rate. The total volume of the space market from 2007 to 2015after deduction of state budgets, it already reaches $ 1.95 trillion. However, the disproportionate distribution of investors and beneficiaries is obvious. US companies occupy about half of the global space market. The contribution of the USSR / Russia to the world space program can be estimated somewhere between 25 and 33% of the total contribution, and according to various estimates, it takes from 0.3 to 1% of the global space market.
The only achievement is a serious share of the market of commercial launches, which was taken in the 1990s and held until 2013. Now this share is the smallest of all the participants, while the entire global market of commercial launches takes 2% of the entire space market.
Today, the Russian Glonass system, launched in the 2000s, holds the position of the second of two fully formed navigation groups in the world along with GPS. At the same time, Russian products are practically not represented on the world market of navigation equipment and services. And the navigation segment of the space market is 14 times (according to SIA) more than the market of orbital launches. In essence, Glonass is a generous and disinterested gift of the Russian Federation to the world economy.
Russia has a civilian group of Earth remote sensing from five high-resolution spacecraft, but the pictures from them are practically not sold. Satellites work exclusively “for themselves” and even the Yandex.Maps national map service relies on foreign satellite data.
Even in the manned space program, which Roscosmos is deservedly proud of, all is not well. Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wondered what the astronauts were doing. Although of the 145 people on the ISS crew of Russian cosmonauts, the most flew - 68. At the same time, the station’s scientific potential is used by international partners several times more efficiently. According to the Web of Science portal, Russia is inferior in the number of scientific publications related to the ISS: the US has 2203, Germany has 631, Japan has 534, Italy has 449, and Russia has 418.
In view of the foregoing, the problems with the financing of the Federal Space Program until 2025 become clear. The cosmonautics curators in the Kremlin could not oppose the requirements of the Ministry of Finance. There is nothing. Russian cosmonautics is an unprofitable lesson for the state budget with extremely low labor productivity, minimal scientific exhaust, and only national love makes it difficult to leave it once and for all.
In such a situation, for the preservation and development of Russian cosmonautics, the only justified strategy is to increase the revenues of the Russian space industry on the world market.
Russia in space should earn at least twice as much as it spends on Roskosmos.
Someone such a goal seems too mundane. But what about the fundamental science? Manned cosmonautics? How are our all unborn moon rovers and rovers? Do we forget about them and go for money?
Moon rovers, rovers and astronauts will not go anywhere. Just need to understand why they go and fly. The state, ordering complex and ambitious space programs, invests in the production potential of its rocket and space enterprises, attracts capable, development-ready personnel. Heroic astronauts and rovers inspire young people, arouse interest in the exact sciences, the acquisition of engineering professions, and this is the future of not only astronautics, but of the entire state, aspiring to technological leadership.
A spacecraft landing on a comet, or flying past Pluto, or digging out another Martian petrified bacterium is not just a scientific device that satisfies the curiosity of a handful of scientists.This is a demonstration of the scientific and industrial potential of the country, the quality and reliability of the equipment produced, and such advertising works much better than plastic models carried on Earth from one aerospace exhibition to another.
State funds invested today for the exploration of the Moon and Mars will create a technological base, which in half a century will become the basis for a new level of commercial activity. Interplanetary And so on.
This is understood by the United States. Europe understands this. This is understood by South Korea. This is understood by India. This is understood even by the United Arab Emirates. Roscosmos does not understand this. Russia has only two scientific satellites in near-earth orbit, there have been no interplanetary vehicles since 1988. Russians only talk about the flights of the moon to the Moon, but postpone the creation of an extra-heavy rocket for this task until after 2035
To understand the true causes of the protracted crisis of Roscosmos, one should refer to its history.
Roscosmos inherited a colossal industrial complex that implemented two simultaneously complex and large-scale projects: the Mir orbital station and the Buran-Energia aerospace system.It was the second largest space industry in the world at the peak of its development. It could work in a normal mode and develop only in conditions of preservation of the scale of activity, which in the 1990s was unreal. As a result, something irrevocably degraded, something is trying to survive, as it may, something was mothballed, but still much has been preserved and fought for orders in the 2000s. Now Roscosmos is forced to “smear the oil with a thin layer” in order to load all the enterprises with work, although their potential is much greater.
Until recently, the hope of the modern Russian space industry to survive and develop without any significant changes was the receipt of funding and work from the state on the scale for which the entire industry was once created. For example, in the near term, this could be a manned lunar program. Just a few years ago, when the dollar cost 35 rubles, and oil, $ 100 per barrel, it was still possible to hope for such a task. Today it is obvious that Russia will not have the Moon in the foreseeable financial future.
Therefore, there is only one obvious solution,which should reduce the paradoxical gap between the volume of Soviet-Russian investments in space and Russia's share in the global space market. The same solution can save Roscosmos from a number of duplicate directions and inefficient assets. It is also capable of taking Russian private astronautics to a new level and giving it a global scale. And it frightens “Roscosmos” more than a sequestration and “Phobos soil” - thisprivatization.
The position of Roscosmos in the global space market is the best way to demonstrate that the state is a very inefficient owner. Russia has an example of more efficient use of space potential - OAO Gazprom Space Systems. This is not a private, but a commercial company relies primarily on Russian technology, and it is profitable. The task of state policy in space should be the multiplication of such examples. Key assets should remain in state ownership that provide for the basic needs of the state: the production of heavy rockets, manned cosmonautics, and cosmodromes. All that has commercial potential in the world market is the production of rockets and communication satellites,Earth remote sensing satellites, production of instruments and components - everything must be given into more efficient hands in order to enter the world market. And in every way to support this direction: government orders, tax incentives, legal climate.
Of course, as a legacy from the 1990s, many have left the notion of privatization as the worst thing that threatens industry. For many, the privatization of the plant is expressed in mass layoffs, the sale of machine tools, sawing shops for scrap and the disappearance of the privatizer in an unknown direction. But here the state should take care to prevent such an option. “Roskosmos” or a separate ministry for space will have to search for decent, sick with space owners who are ready to invest and fight for a share in the world market. They can and should be rendered to inefficient state-owned enterprises today - perhaps at reduced prices or for loans in state-owned banks. Seek opportunities for joint ventures, even with the same foreign corporations. But only such a present public-private partnership can give a serious effect in the foreseeable future and form a new image of the Russian cosmonautics.
The first step has already been taken.The founder of S7, Vladislav Filev, was able to buy the floating launch site Sea Launch from RSC Energia. Buy for $ 160 million a project in which $ 3.5 billion was invested, to achieve compensation for the state account of the debts hanging on it - is this not classic privatization? “Sea Launch” was quite a suitcase without a handle, getting rid of it, “Roskosmos” happily sighed. But to give the workers, although inefficient production - is there enough courage?
With the right strategy should suffice.
Happy Cosmonautics Day!
Published in "Vedomosti", published with additions.
The opinion of the author is his personal point of view.