Image by Petar Milošević
The Russian space launch industry has come under pressure in recent years as much of its market share has been lost to American private competitors, specifically SpaceX.
State Space Corporation Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin recently declared that private capital will be needed to revive the sector.
“We believe that the revival of the Russian space industry will be linked with the attraction of the private investor,” the Roscosmos chief said at the ceremony of launching into operation a facility at the Yaroslavl radio factory for the assembly of payload modules, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“Up to now, the Russian rocket and space industry had been working on the market of launch services, where we held leading positions. However, in the past few years, we have lost the leading positions and, importantly, we have come to realize that the basic market involves not the delivery of some others’ payloads into outer space but the creation of our own payloads…We are not going to cede our leadership in outer space to anyone. We respect our country and will compete tightly with all our rivals,” Rogozin said.
Rogozin also said that Russian enterprises manufacturing satellites should switch to their serial production to provide communications, navigation and the Internet for the country. “In order to provide our large country with unified communications and unified navigation, we must switch from the creation of individual items to the serial production of satellites,” Rogozin said, added TASS.
One of the bright spots for revenue in the Russian space program has been the continued reliance of the Americans on Russian launch technology, where Russia has been supplying rocket engines due to a lack of American manufacturing capability. However, even this profit source may be in jeopardy as there are now voices in Moscow calling for the sales to be terminated in response to Western sanctions.
Sergei Ryabukhin, head of the budget committee in the upper house of parliament, called the measures announced by the state department late on Wednesday the “most obnoxious and cynical behaviour on the market” and said Russia has the means to respond if leader Vladimir Putin wishes to do so.
“The United States needs to finally understand that it’s useless to fight with Russia, including with the help of sanctions,” he said.
He said Russia could in particular stop exports to the United States of the RD-180 rocket engine, which powers the first stage of the Atlas 5 rocket made by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, reported the Telegraph.
America has ordered 6 engines from Russia through 2020.