Vladimir Putin: Happy Holiday!
All: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Today is an anniversary date, 45 years since a momentous event took place in the life of our country and the entire world, an event that marked the beginning of a whole new era in human history. Now is a good time to remember this event, all the more so as two people are currently working in orbit. And I think that we will have the chance today to greet them too and wish them a successful flight, productive work and a safe return home. In five minutes time, I think…
Director of Rosaviakosmos Anatoly Perminov: At 13.01. The previous crew, which included Brazilian test pilot and cosmonaut Marcus Ponte, has just landed and we will also have the chance to speak with them today. We are celebrating this holiday in worthy fashion today. Russia holds a leading position in space activity in the world and its piloted astronautics sector is developing very well.
Vladimir Putin: What is the outlook for the new reusable space craft?
Anatoly Perminov: A tender is currently underway and the companies involved are battling it out to be the one who will build the space craft. Three main companies are in the running – RKK Energia – S.P. Korolyov National Corporation, the Khrunichev National Space Centre and Research&Development Corporation Molnia. In June we will hold a closed examination of the bids and will announce the results. But the craft will definitely be built.
Vladimir Putin: When will it be ready, approximately?
Anatoly Perminov: The plans are for it to be ready to begin operation in 2012–2015.
Vladimir Putin: That is already quite soon.
Anatoly Perminov: Yes, it is quite soon.
Vladimir Putin: How do you assess the federal programme in Istra? Are there any problems with its implementation?
Anatoly Perminov: The Government examined the federal programme last year. All areas have been taken into account. Regarding the areas where further work was required you gave instructions, especially as concerns the GLONASS system, and we hope that the approval process with the Economic Development and Trade Ministry and the Finance Ministry will soon take place and we will be able to complete this work.
Vladimir Putin: Is the industry keeping up with the accelerated pace of putting the necessary quantity into orbit?
Anatoly Perminov: Yes, we have worked it through with the industrial sites of the companies. [Defence Minister] Sergei Borisovich Ivanov personally oversaw this process and visited the companies concerned. In Krasnoyarsk Region all the technical issues were examined as well.
Vladimir Putin: If everything went according to the existing plan, when would we expect to see the whole system up and working?
Anatoly Perminov: If everything went according to the timetable set out in the old programme, we would have expected to see the system ready for operation only towards the end of 2011-beginning of 2012.
Vladimir Putin: At the beginning of 2012. And if we manage to carry out the accelerated programme for bringing GLONASS into operation?
Anatoly Perminov: Then the system will be ready for operation throughout the Russian Federation and the CIS countries by the end of 2007.
Vladimir Putin: That is excellent.
Anatoly Perminov: And we will have global coverage by 2009.
Vladimir Putin: We need to start work in advance on ground infrastructure issues and ensuring a certain amount of orders on the books.
Anatoly Perminov: We are already working on this. Overall, Russia is bearing the entire burden in the area of piloted astronautics at the moment in view of the situation with the space shuttle flights, and the whole world can see the progress we are making in this area. The building of a new space craft will create even greater opportunities for our country. We are seeing progress in general at international level. Over the last year alone we have signed 10 agreements with different countries in various areas. We are working productively in this direction, particularly in the area of what we call visiting expeditions. Thanks to your help and support there is already a growing queue in various countries and, quite frankly, we don’t know how to cover all this demand. It looks as though, as I discussed with Alexei Arkhipovich [Leonov] today, that we will have to increase the number of space craft.
Vladimir Putin: Anatoly Nikolayevich, coming back to the GLONASS system, what satellite cluster do we need in orbit for the system to work?
Anatoly Perminov: We need a cluster of 24 satellites.
Vladimir Putin: And how many do we have at the moment?
Anatoly Perminov: At the moment we have 16.
Vladimir Putin: And they’re already in orbit? They are part of this cluster?
Anatoly Perminov: Yes, they are part of this cluster.
Vladimir Putin: And how many do the Europeans need? Just as many?
Anatoly Perminov: The Europeans need a cluster of 30 for their system.
Vladimir Putin: And how many have they put in orbit?
Anatoly Perminov: One.
Vladimir Putin: Maybe it would make sense then for us to combine our efforts with them?
Anatoly Perminov: We are currently preparing an agreement on complementariness of our future systems, especially as concerns, as you pointed out, the ground-based infrastructure, so that consumers on the ground in any country will be able to use the future GLONASS system plus the Galileo system. We are working on this.
Vladimir Putin: As far I know, they want to carry out their plans independently?
Anatoly Perminov: Yes, they want to make their system independent both from the United States and from Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Galileo?
Anatoly Perminov: Yes, Galileo. This is their right, but technology is developing in such a way that the commercial sector will nonetheless have to use all three systems: GLONASS, GPS and Galileo.
Vladimir Putin: Our consumers should use our system. We have plenty of consumers here and they should use the Russian system.
Anatoly Perminov: I am sure that our consumers will use our system. In any case, with the launch of the new GLONASS-K apparatus it will be able to offer an even better quality by that time.
Vladimir Putin: Vasily Vasilyevich, how is the Cosmonaut Training Centre doing?
Head of the Cosmonaut Training Centre Vasily Tsibliyev: We are continuing our work. Thank you for your support. The centre has been working for 46 years now and over this time we have always gone through with all our plans. The centre had trained 422 people from 30 different countries, and 224 of these people made space flights. A total of 99 people from Russia and the Soviet Union, starting with Yury Gagarin in 1961, have made space flights. We haven’t yet reached 100.
Vladimir Putin: How many people are currently in training?
Vasily Tsibliyev: We currently have 17 people in the military detachment. And we have now 38 people from different countries. At the moment training for the station is for two people. If the station will be open to from 3–6 people, as is planned in 2008, then we will be able to increase the number of training participants to 95–102 people, from different countries, from Europe, America and Russia, of course, and from Japan and Korea.
Anatoly Perminov: Attention! Connect the Flight Control Centre.
There is a little bit of a delay because the communications line is going via the United States, as the International Space Station is currently in their observation zone.
Vladimir Putin: Dear Pavel Vladimirovich [Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov] and Mr Williams [U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Williams],
We are here at the Kremlin together with your colleagues to congratulate you on this holiday.
Today is not only Cosmonauts’ Day, which we celebrate as a national holiday in our country; it also marks 45 years since space was conquered by our countryman, Yury Gagarin. Much has been accomplished over this time by our country and by our partners and colleagues. Over this time man has been on the Moon and we have reached a new level of cooperation in space. I am very happy to see that representatives of the world’s two leading space powers, Russia and the United States, are working together today under one roof – on board the International Space Station.
There was a lot of debate at one time on whether it made sense to carry out this project, on how to go about it and on how our work together would develop. Today it is clear that this project is a success and we all wish you successful and productive work in orbit.
We know, and your colleagues know especially well, that despite the seeming simplicity of work in space today, this work always requires particular courage, knowledge, boldness, organisation and discipline. Just think of what it takes to accomplish a space-walk.
Alexei Leonov knows better than anyone here what this demands because he was the first person to walk in space. I know that you will have to carry out this difficult work before September, and perhaps more than once.
We all wish you a successful conclusion to your mission and a safe return home. Congratulations on this holiday!
Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov: Thank you very much for your kind words and best wishes. We accept them first and foremost not for ourselves, but for the large, already huge, group of astronauts and cosmonauts of the world. This is really all of mankind's holiday. And on behalf of the International Space Station crew I thank you for your best wishes on Cosmonauts' Day.
Of course, Jeffrey and I represent an advanced outpost here in space. On the 45 th anniversary of the space flight by Yury Alekseevich Gagarin, we are well aware how important your support for the whole space sector is. It is important not only for cosmonauts but for experts, academics, and the tens of thousands of people who work in these programmes, both national and international ones.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Williams, is there a difference between preparing for a flight on a shuttle and on Soyuz? How would you evaluate your cooperation with Russian partners?
U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Williams: There is a big difference because the shuttle is a different ship from Soyuz and therefore requires different procedures. Soyuz is a very good ship and our pilots are very interested in Soyuz. Certainly, the shuttle is also very interesting. And naturally, both supplement each other within our international programme.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Anatoly Perminov: Dear crew members, on behalf of our colleagues from Roscosmos allow me to congratulate you on this holiday and wish you health and success. I also wish you a meticulous preparation for receiving the shuttle in July and ending the programme. I know that we have a full programme that sometimes requires 19 hour work days. Well, today is a holiday. Happy holiday and all the best!
Pavel Vinogradov: Thank you, Anatoly Nikolaevich. Thank you for your warm words. And even though we are now at work, we are happy because we know how many people are watching us and our activities, and expect results from us. We shall try to fulfill their hopes in us and not let them down. And today I would like to use this holiday as an opportunity to invite Vladimir Vladimirovich to visit us because he has already been on an underwater cruiser and tested the strategic aircraft Su-27, our own plane. And yet the President has never been to a space station in orbit.
For this reason, if Vladimir Vladimirovich finds the time, even a short time, we are inviting him to come and visit us.
Vladimir Putin: Well, probably as a holiday. Thank you very much.
Soviet cosmonaut Viktor Savinikh: Dear guys! I was also lucky enough to be in space on 12 April 1981. And I congratulate you on this holiday. But on this very day twenty five years ago the first shuttle was launched and at that moment we were in orbit together. And it was a great celebration for me because I remember 1961 and remember when Levitan announced Gagarin's space flight. In 1981 Levitan came on the line and once again gave the same message that TASS had pronounced in 1961. It was a big celebration while in orbit. We congratulate you!
Pavel Vinogradov: Thank you Viktor Petrovich. Of course we remember the huge events that took place. And undoubtedly, the Space Shuttle programme in the United States is a very powerful step into space. We are waiting impatiently for the shuttle to arrive. We are waiting for our comarade, our friend and our colleague – the European cosmonaut Thomas Reiter. And I think that our crew will not only increase by one person but that our crew's forces will double and triple. We will be able to work much more effectively at the International Space Station.
Anatoly Perminov: Thank you, the session is over. All the best to you.
If you allow it we also have a link-up with the crew that has already landed.
Vladimir Putin: Please, go ahead. Where are they – in the Cosmonaut Training Centre?
Anatoly Perminov: They are in the Centre, already on the ground. Therefore it is easy to talk to them.
Vladimir Putin: Dear friends, good afternoon!
Together with your colleagues we greet you from the Kremlin and warmly congratulate you on Cosmonauts' Day.
Today is an unusual day – 45 years have gone by since Gagarin's space flight. For all of us this is a significant, remarkable event but for you, for people who have devoted themselves to this unusual field, to space, this is a special holiday.
It is an unusual field for the ordinary person who has never been to space but today knowledge gained from your activities is applied in almost all practical and theoretical fields. And you have rendered a huge service by helping things develop in such a way.
We congratulate you and wish you all the very best!
And of course, a special congratulations to the first Brazilian cosmonaut. I know that this was a very big event in Brazil. And it truly is a big event not only for Brazil but also for the whole community that works in the space sector. Because it means that alongside the countries that are actively exploring space, yet one more big powerful country has appeared, a country that will make its contribution, an important contribution, to our teamwork.
I congratulate you. I wish you all the best.
Anatoly Perminov: Dear crew members !
We congratulate you on the excellent work you did while in orbit. And we ask you to say something to the President of the Russian Federation in turn.
Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev: Thanks very much, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, for the attention you pay not only to cosmonauts but also to piloted astronautics. Certainly, this is a very impressive event for all of us, when the crew that is in orbit and the crew that has landed have the opportunity to talk directly with the President. Thank you very much for this. And we are all aware of how full your schedule is.
U.S. astronaut William Mcarthur: Mr President, I thank you for the honour you have bestowed on us by celebrating the 45 th anniversary of Yury Gagarin's space flight with us. We have really learned a lot during the time that we were in orbit. First and foremost we learned that people can truly live and work in a successful way in space. We also found out by ourselves and confirmed that successful space exploration and achieving future goals – bringing people to the moon or to Mars or even somewhere further – is possible only thanks to joint efforts, to teamwork. One country cannot achieve this alone. And such research must be undertaken together for the good of the world.
Brazilian astronaut Marcus Pontes: Mr President, I congratulate you and the Russian Federation on this significant date – this day is important not only for your country but also for all mankind.
It is true that the first space flight by a Brazilian citizen was extremely important for my country. And I also hope that it will help further increase cooperation between Russia and Brazil.
Vladimir Putin: I congratulate you on the success of your flight. I am confident that in the very near future you will already be feeling better, be fully back on track. We all are well aware that this is an extremely difficult mission, despite the fact that it seems ordinary today.
We shall always remember those people who gave their lives so that mankind could explore space today on such a large scale. These are both Soviet and Russian cosmonauts. These are American astronauts. Mankind will always remember them and be grateful to them. And I wish you success, success in our joint work to develop space.
Anatoly Perminov: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, the crew members have asked me to give you this gift. I give you this photograph on their behalf.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Anatoly Perminov: Thank you. The session has ended. Happy Holiday.
Vladimir Putin: Happy Holiday.