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Reform urged for Russia’s space program
“Extreme measures” and sweeping reform are needed if Russia’s space industry is to remain competitive, the head of Russian space agency Roscosmos says.
The remarks by Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin follow a recent string of failed launches and satellite malfunctions.
“Unless we undertake extreme measures, the sector will be uncompetitive within 3-4 years,” RIA Novosti reported Popovkin saying in a lecture to science and technology students.
The failed launches are “only the litmus test,” he said. “The root causes are much deeper and more important.”
Russian satellites could lose to foreign competition because per-capita productivity in the aerospace sectors of competing countries is two to four times higher, he said.
“If nothing changes, we won’t be able to sell [Russian space technology] in 2015, because Western equipment will be priced 33 to 50 percent lower,” Popovkin said.
Roscosmos ought to be converted into a space industry holding company that isn’t under direct state control, he said, and there should be a fundamental shift in the state’s focus from producing a final product to providing conditions in the private sector of the space industry conducive to success.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International