Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov on the strategy for developing the rocket and space sector
Sergei Ivanov: The subject of the rocket and space sector was mentioned in your Address [to the Federal Assembly] and it was mentioned at the last Security Council meeting when [Prime Minister] Mikhail Yefimovich [Fradkov] spoke about it with regard to a technology gap. But since the rocket and space sector is an area in which the Russian Federation has traditionally had a number of advantages, we are paying this issue a lot of attention and it is for this reason that the Government is to examine a development strategy for the sector through to 2015.
The strategy aims at raising the quality of our technology in this area, the technology of the rockets themselves and of the satellites we launch, and at determining how many we need exactly, so that we will be able to use the satellites we build in the interests of the national economy and of national defence. The operation of the modern satellites we already have in orbit shows that the most effective kind of space activity is a dual-purpose approach that serves national defence interests while at the same time contributing to overall economic development. This will make a considerable contribution to developing the telecommunications sector in Russia, expanding TV broadcasting, and helping us maintain a common information space. There was an incident recently when one of the satellites broke down and problems arose with TV broadcasting to the Far East. [First Deputy Prime Minister] Dmitry Anatolyevich [Medvedev] even held a meeting about this.
Of course, the defence aspect is also important because without it we cannot ensure effective command of the troops, especially at the tactical level, that is, at company and battalion level, and the development strategy for the sector addresses these issues, of course, and also the question of developing a network of Russian space launch centres.
The GLONASS programme is dealt with as a separate component of the strategy. You are well informed on the programme. Incidentally, the approvals and documents needed to speed up the extension of the GLONASS system to the entire territory of the Russian Federation by the end of 2007 have already been approved by the ministries and this programme is also now to be examined by the Government.
That is a brief overview of the main elements of this strategy which, I think, will help us to maintain our objective technological advantages in this sector and develop them further.
President Vladimir Putin: Quality and service life are very important indicators whatever the case, but quantity is also extremely important. We cannot push for quantity at the expense of quality and service life, but we do need to ensure the necessary quantity within a certain time in order to create full-fledged programmes. The GLONASS system that you mentioned, for example, will start working only once the necessary quantity of apparatus is in orbit…
Sergei Ivanov: Twenty-four …
Vladimir Putin: Precisely, the necessary number of satellites. We must ensure we meet these quantity requirements.
Sergei Ivanov: That goes without saying. We need to have a total quantity of more than 100 satellites in our orbital group.
Vladimir Putin: Excellent, now we only need to ensure that this will always be the case.