President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin: Good afternoon. We recently updated you on the work to develop a super-heavy rocket, on the start of the design work, to be more precise, taking as a base the Angara A5 series of rockets, which went through tests last December. The design work is underway at the Khrunichev Centre and Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia.
We have come up with an original technological solution for the hydrogen-powered third stage, which will make it possible to increase the heavy Angara’s payload capacity by 12 tonnes. The two-launch system will make it possible to use the rocket to launch flights, including manned flights, into distant space. Mr Komarov will give more detail on this.
Federal Space Agency Head Igor Komarov: This is a new generation piloted transport spacecraft that can carry out flights to the Moon and into distant space. The development work is currently underway at the Khrunichev Centre and the project is part of the Federal Space Programme. We plan to hold the first launch in 2021, and we hope that in 2024 it will be ready to carry our cosmonauts on board and dock with the orbiting station. In the future, it will be used for our Moon programme and other programmes.
Dmitry Rogozin: Mr President, we would like to start with the results for 2014 and then present Roscosmos’ proposals, which the Military-Industrial Commission’s Board has already approved for inclusion in the Federal Space Programme. These are proposals for new approaches that will make it possible for us to develop our own orbital station and build a super-heavy rocket.
Regarding last year’s results, we have increased our orbital group substantially. The group now has a total of 134 satellites; in other words, we increased it by 17 satellites. That is a record for us.
Vladimir Putin: How many do the Europeans have — 131 satellites?
Dmitry Rogozin: Fewer. The Americans are still in first place.
Igor Komarov: The Americans are in first place and we are in third place, after China.
Dmitry Rogozin: But our navigation system is in second place. We have 29 satellites in orbit for this system, 24 on military duty and 5 in reserve orbit.
Vladimir Putin: Are you talking about GLONASS?
Dmitry Rogozin: Yes, GLONASS. We are currently carrying out the tests with success. The new generation Glonass-K navigation satellite is demonstrating good and more precise characteristics. This satellite will enable us to reach resolution of up to 60 centimetres by 2020, as compared to the 2.6 metres that we have at the moment.
Vladimir Putin: Will their service life in orbit increase?
Dmitry Rogozin: Yes, the electronic components that we use will increase their life in orbit, and we are increasing the number of domestically produced components being used.
Igor Komarov: Over the last year, we have brought the service life of our satellites up to 7.5 years, though, frankly speaking, this still lags behind…
Vladimir Putin: Yes, this isn’t very much for now.
Igor Komarov: It isn’t much yet, but the Federal Space Programme and our efforts will eventually increase the service life to 15 years.
Looking at last year’s results, we launched 80 satellites – a record number. Of these, 46 were part of our international cooperation with 20 different countries, and 34 were our satellites. As for launch vehicles, we had a good figure too with 38 launches, of which 27 were part of the Federal Space Programme and the Defence Ministry’s programme.
Regarding our international projects, together with Arianespace, we launched four satellites in Guyana and one from the sea launch. In all, there were six commercial launches. This means that we are still in the lead with around 36 percent of the market as far as delivery vehicles and launch numbers are concerned. We hope that our new projects and rockets will enable us to maintain our positions.
Dmitry Rogozin: The emphasis is not so much now simply on maintaining our position on the market for launch services. This is important, of course, and we are moving in the right direction with the work underway, especially on the Angara.
Mr Komarov will brief you on what has been done to make the Angara’s launch even cheaper in production cost than was the Proton. In other words, the Angara will be a more up-to-date rocket, more environmentally friendly, and therefore cheaper.
But there are other more important areas. The main space services market today is for navigation, distance Earth probes, mapping, meteorology and so on. In order to secure our place on this market, we are putting the main emphasis now on developing our own domestically produced satellites. In other words, we aim to expand our presence on the market not through launching other countries’ satellites, but through launching our own and establishing a new orbital group.
Overall, Mr President, we can say that we see a light at the end of the tunnel and are starting to emerge from the system-wide crisis that the sector found itself in of late.
Vladimir Putin: How is the work on the space launch centre progressing?
Dmitry Rogozin: The work is continuing and that is the main thing. I am in daily contact with the construction site’s director, Alexander Mordovets. I spoke with him this morning at 9am. There are some problems, as we reported to you. The work is still behind schedule at the moment.
We will make proposals today for how to overcome this lag. Overall though, there has been serious progress. The launch platform is already in place and we have even started installing the technical equipment there now. The fire ring is virtually ready. Overall, the work is going ahead and I think that we will have it completed within the deadline.
Vladimir Putin: We need to remember that this is a national project, one of the country’s biggest construction sites. I ask you to be very attentive in your work.
You must keep to the deadlines. I know that deadlines have been missed. I know too that there has been a positive trend of late and the pace has picked up. You need to keep this trend going and make sure that all the planned objectives are met.
When is the first launch planned?
Dmitry Rogozin: All infrastructure at the Vostochny Space Launch Centre should be ready this year for the first launch of automatic satellites. Everything should be ready by the end of this year.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, I understand that this is when the facility will be ready, but when will the first launch actually take place?
Dmitry Rogozin: We expect that it will be in December this year.
Vladimir Putin: This is the plan?
Igor Komarov: Yes, this is our plan.
Vladimir Putin: Good, what will you launch?
IgorKomarov: The Soyuz-2, carrying the Lomonosov satellite. This is the satellite that one of our companies designed for Moscow State University. It is being launched for research purposes.
Vladimir Putin: How long will the ongoing work to equip the space launch centre continue? What year will it finish? Will there be any problems in carrying out launches while the construction work is still in process?
Igor Komarov: This is an issue. We are working on getting the necessary minimum into place for launches now. Given the problems that we have had, some of the facilities will not be ready until 2016. The second stage of the work involves development of crewed spacecraft.
We want to use the [Vostochny] facility to carry out new projects involving the promising new generation transport spacecraft and the new heavy Angara. We want to do this at Vostochny, which we hope will become the face of our space industry.
Vladimir Putin: Heavy rockets are to be part of project there as it is. What we need are super-heavy rockets. This is something you need to think about.
Igor Komarov: We are thinking about this. The proposal that we have made will meet the needs of the lunar programme too. The super-heavy rocket project will require financing of around 600 billion for developing and preparing the spacecraft alone.
We have decided to develop a third stage for the Angara, which will enable us to reach the Moon’s surface using the two-launch system, together with a crewed spacecraft and cosmonauts and a lunar landing and take-off module. We will spend only 60 billion on the rocket’s design and development.
Vladimir Putin: In general, you need to finally learn how to make good efficient use of financial resources.
Igor Komarov: Yes, this is a task to which we will certainly give our utmost attention.