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Russian state support for private space exploration USA
Material posted: Publication date: 29-06-2018
Roscosmos plans to close the production of the rocket “proton”. The most competitive and the most profitable in the foreign market, civil product, has earned over twenty years to $10 billion (4 the annual budget of Roskosmos) is closed in the context of the "financial recovery Center. Khrunichev". Proton closes to make way rocket “Angara” — clean, but uncompetitive on the world market the rocket.

Of course the failure will not happen immediately, promise to fulfill all current contracts, although they are not so much. Ie a couple of years proton still fly, but then. Practically, this means that Roskosmos is completely out from the world market of launching of geostationary satellites — the cash part of the market of commercial space launches, where only 9 years ago, Russia took up to 60%.

World commercial space market has evolved in the 90s and 2000s years, largely thanks to cheap Russian missiles. Then there are the starving post-Soviet engineers on the technological backlog of the USSR created conditions for the development of space services around the world so that today commercial space company in telecommunications, navigation, Earth imaging in the year to earn about four times more than all the world's annual spending on space. In the 2010s, this has developed the market came American entrepreneur Elon Musk who has managed to offer the rocket is slightly cheaper and slightly more reliable than the Russian. Until today, he managed to remove a good layer of cream from the market launches, but today the Federal space Agency refuses to compete and goes down without a fight.

The only missile in the world that could compete almost on a par with the most modern and partially reusable rocket Falcon 9 Block 5 is “Average proton”, which is without government funding and the initiative was developed in agonizing Center. Khrunichev. “Angara” is incapable in principle.

The rejection of “Proton” due to cost savings. Center. Khrunichev is mired in debt, partly trying to repay through the sale of the Moscow area enterprises. Now there is a transfer of production facilities in Omsk. Moscow square Center. Khrunichev reduced, frames are cut in half, and the remaining industrial sites filled with equipment “evacuated” with the vacated residential premises. Tools and resources on the Assembly line of “Proton” in Omsk, it seems not enough. Additionally it is now possible to save a scoring pad “Proton” on Baikonur. Kazakhstan happy to accept the cease-launches poisonous gatilova missiles that unhappy there for a long time, but still suffer.

In the long term, the closure of Proton leads to the withdrawal of Russia from Baikonur at all. Already closed“Gagarin's start”. The Kazakh side passed the two pads of the “Zenity” program Astana. 2014 closed project conversion rocket “Dnepr” due to disagreements with Ukraine. After the rejection of “Proton” on Baikonur will remain one working pad for rockets “Soyuz-2”. That is, from the space port, which now allows launching all types of payloads to all types of orbits, Baikonur will return to functionality, 1961: manned earth launch vehicles and satellites missile medium-lift Soyuz. And after the completion of the manned space program of the ISS in 2024, the spaceport, you can simply close unnecessary — launch tables “Union” there are at Plesetsk and East.

With the rejection of “Proton” Russia will lose access to the geostationary orbit for its heavy satellites, and “Angara” will be able to replace it in 3-4 years, i.e. the time the Russian space Agency not only loses its commercial prospects, but also jeopardizing the state objective of preserving access to space.

The decision on the closure of “Proton” challenging, but forced. This missile, which today has a low price due to the small-scale mining operations technology and low wages, and demanded in the global and domestic market. The truth of the tainted statistics of accidents has a high interest rate for the insurance, and loses the Falcon 9. “Proton” is created on obsolete technology, is toxic, increasingly expensive fuel, and runs only from Baikonur, i.e., it triggers dependent on the political climate in the relations of Russia with Kazakhstan. Under the earlier plans of Roscosmos, “proton” was supposed to fly until 2025, although there is no apparent reason to stay on this year.

On the other hand “Angara” — “clean” (or rather, just not toxic) rocket, which is only in experimental production, is more complex and expensive engines, requires a flight test and a half to two times more expensive “Proton”. Under “the Hangar” was built only one pad in Plesetsk, which is essential to the launches of heavy geostationary satellites with the current version of “Angara”. It is possible to increase its capacity by about half due to hydrogen stage — now a missile called “heavyweight”, although it in half will give the rocket Falcon Heavy. Either you need to build the start of the table under “the Hangar” on the Eastern. Such plans were, but the construction “the second stage of the Vostochny space centre” is delayed. The high cost of construction and the budget cuts initially forced the Russian space Agency to abandon one of the planned two starting tables for “Angara”, and then the cost of construction has decided to shift the defense. Today it is already possible to forget the old characterization of the East as the “first civilian spaceport of Russia”.

Get savings on Proton imaginary — to do the work and keep the starting tables will be cheaper than master batch production from scratch and build a new pad. The problem is that Roscosmos could not abandon the “Angara” since too long time to convince everyone around you and yourself in her benefit for the future of Russian cosmonautics. Bet on “the Hangar” is an attempt to save twice to abandon the overhead of “proton” and to shift the costs of starting tables and flight tests of “Angara” in the defense Ministry, which is the hardest rejection geostationary launches at least a year. This embodiment of the current aspirations of the Russian space Agency to reduce costs and increase income, what long time all require. Unfortunately, this “business plan” virtually eliminates any attempts of competition on the foreign market closes and the Russian space Agency on state order.

But the rejection of “Proton” frees up opportunities for Russian entrepreneurs. For example, S7 Space intends to expand to foreign markets with the restored "Zenith" or the future rocket "Soyuz-5" produced by RSC Energia, or even a reusable rocket "Soyuz-5 SL" own production. The rejection of “Proton” best S7, as it saves market share. Although it is the business of the company blocked the same Roscosmos because of his unwillingness to sell components for Russian-Ukrainian rocket “Zenit”, S7 Space which could run today. The option to run offshore platforms S7 Space something besides “Zenith” or the future “Alliance-5” is excluded for technical reasons.

It seems nobody is considering the possibility to give the proton to private owners, although in a certain sense it is. The production of “Proton Average” is almost established, the production capacity is, frames, pad have, a broad international agreement is, the market is. If in Russia there was a private owner willing to invest $300-500 million in a private rocket business and continue competing in the global market, it is possible to Roscosmos would be willing to give him a well-deserved, but has become unnecessary with rocket production and launch sites.


Tags: Russia , space

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