Vladimir Putin : Good afternoon, dear colleagues!
Today our regular State Council Presidium session is addressing an unusual theme. Even taking into account the fact that on April 12 – very soon – we will celebrate Cosmonauts’ Day. Nevertheless, this theme – the development of the space industry, of the missile-building and space industry – is an unusual one for the State Council. Still, it is no accident that we are addressing precisely this theme because in today’s world and in the Russian Federation space technology is increasingly applied, in the economy, the environment, urban development, the development of agriculture, and I have not even mentioned — in the transport sector. And it would not be possible to oversee some types of activities effectively without space technology. For that reason I am confident that this topic will not only be interesting, but useful as well.
You know that in addition to all the other possible interpretations, this year can genuinely be considered a year of space anniversaries. In January we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev’s birth. In September we will mark the 150th anniversary of the founder of space science, Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovskii. In October we will celebrate the 50 years since the launch of the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. That day, 4 October 1957, is considered to mark the beginning of the space age.
We certainly are proud of how our country paved the way for space exploration and then became a leader in the development and application of space technology. We must nevertheless acknowledge that a whole decade – perhaps even more – of economic difficulties has had a negative impact on the development of our space sector. And we are still not exploiting our full national potential in this field.
At the same time, the development of the space industry is a necessary prerequisite for engaging in independent space activities in Russia and ensures Russia’s competitiveness on the world space market. And what is equally important is that this development directly influences the process by which the latest developments in space science and technology are introduced in various other economic branches.
Today these challenges are being met according to the Development Strategy for the Rocket and Space Industry through to 2015 that was approved in February 2007. Its aim consists in creating a modern space industry and increasing the number of Russian companies offering space products and services on the world market.
I would like to add that in the near future we will examine space activities in Russia in a long-term perspective, through to 2040, at a working Security Council meeting. It is the experts working in this field interested in developing this long-term programme. They believe that this is the only way to use our financial resources in Russia’s long-term interests and in a long-term perspective, since certain programmes cannot be developed in two or three years but require long-term planning.
I will emphasise that ensuring a leading position for Russia is certainly not an end in and of itself. Just the same as it is not the purpose of the rocket industry. We were just in the Tsiolkovskii Museum and we remembered what our great compatriot said and he said that rockets are not an end in and of themselves, and that their purpose consists in improving peoples’ lives, in increasing peoples’ happiness. That was what Tsiolkovskii said.
We have already accumulated a huge amount of technological and managerial experience, as well as rich scientific and practical knowledge in this industry. It is for this reason that our genuine potential is in real demand today.
It is well-known that activities in the space sector can have global and practically unlimited applications. They are now much needed in various sectors such as navigation, geodesics, communications, television broadcasting, the environment, energy, health care, education, transport, the wood industry, and so on and so forth, in the world market.
The State Council’s working group has analysed the potential application of the results of space activities in Russia in quite a bit of detail and has made its proposals. We are going to discuss them. In connection with this, I would like to touch on what I consider to be the most fundamental aspects.
The first issue consists in creating a full-fledged market for space services. Unfortunately, today we must concede that such a market does not exist. True, there are individual consumers for space activities. And we witnessed that just now at the exhibition. They include the federal and municipal structures represented here as well as the private sector. For example, today an earth remote sensing network is developing in Russia. The products of space activities are used to monitor natural resources, in cartography and, as I said before, in urban development.
But these endeavours are far from systematic. This takes place or is carried out on a case-by-case basis. The absence of sensible and meaningful government proposals in this field is the main reason for the present situation. To speak frankly, a number of issues have not yet been addressed in detail. There is no clear list of space services, no attempt to make information available for consumers, and no market research underway. We are all perfectly aware of how the space system developed in Russia. First and foremost the system was designed to ensure the country’s defensibility. Today too, this aspect remains among the most important ones but, in order to have a full-value space industry that benefits from its own potential for growth, then everything that I just said should be investigated and carried out in the most careful possible way.
Furthermore, while having important results in our own global navigation system, GLONASS, as an example, we still continue to use foreign satellite technology. All those who use this space service use the GPS system. It is true that we do not yet have a choice in this matter. I hope that our navigation system will start working in 2007. Sergei Borisovich [Ivanov] has been charged with accomplishing this task and he is working actively to do so. Sergei Borisovich, I am very much looking forward to seeing this take place by the end of the year.
It is obvious that we must introduce fundamental changes to the present situation. We need to start by making a detailed inventory of all available resources. We need to do more than just create a uniform data base for space activities, we also need to consolidate the various ways in which they are used.
Next. In Russia today there is literally no institution for operators that provide satellite services. And this is a key issue. Especially since the industry is increasingly expanding abroad.
Another important topic that we need to discuss concerns the lack of necessary normative and legal mechanisms in the field. Present legislation does not even define terms such as the results of space activities. It is clearly time to prepare the necessary changes to the law “On Space Activities” as well as to other legal acts. At the same time, we also need engage in activities such as developing national standards and technical regulations for using the results of space activities. And we obviously need to adjust the private and public partnership in this area.
In the State Council we will look at the role that regions play in using space technology, resources and systems in detail. It is no coincidence that this meeting is taking place in Kaluga. I am very grateful to the Governor for organising and making our meeting today possible. Kaluga is relevant not only because Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovskii lived and worked here. Last year the Kaluga region adopted a special programme for using space services. Anatolii Dmitrievich [Artamonov] talked about this just now at the exhibition on the space sector’s achievements and said that a so-called standard model of a regional programme was developed on this basis. And today we will have the opportunity to discuss the approaches that have been suggested there and, I hope, what Anatolii Dmitrievich has said. Along with this I would emphasise that each region has the right to independently choose the ways to use the results of space activities. This can consist either in a separate programme or part of an existing federal programme.
I know that the regions are suggesting concrete pilot projects that would address their priority tasks by using space activities. I believe that such projects can be regional, but also interregional and, of course, federal as well. The main thing is that they must provide for comprehensive coordination between all normative, technical, financial and administrative aspects. In turn, the government cabinet must develop procedures for selecting, implementing and financing such projects.
In conclusion I will again emphasise that with respect to the practical use of space activities, we are still far behind what our economy and our citizens require. We must do everything possible to radically improve the effectiveness of space services. And we are able to do so.