Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Russian Space Program is Entering a Dark Age

        By Henry Stewart

ArsTechnica has posted an interesting piece on the decline of the Russian space capabilities, using references from Lenta.ru, a Moscow-based Russian language online newspaper.

As outlined in the July 9th, 2018 ArsTechnica post, "Russian editor: Our space program is entering the 'Dark Ages'"  Lenta.ru author/editor Andrei Borisov has captured:
...the fading zeitgeist of the Russian space program in a lengthy article on the new leader of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, and the changes he has proposed. 
Dmitry Rogozin. Photo c/o Wikipedia.
"(What) Rogozin is trying to create reminds one of the Dark Ages in Europe," Borisov writes on Lenta.Ru, where he serves as editor of science and technology. 
"In it, there is no place for modernization, there is only the mission of survival."
The article catalogs current Russian efforts to develop newer, competitive rockets and modern spacecraft.

But according to Borisov, those efforts are behind schedule, outdated or already non-competitive.

Failed plans include numerous rocket redesigns, multiple political revisions of the various departments comprising the current Russian space program, the failed creation of a "super-heavy" rocket and even a planned, although cancelled, manned mission to the Moon in 2015.

As well, funding for ongoing operations will likely take a hit in the near future. As outlined in the article:
As soon as next year, the United States plans to stop paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year to Russia for Soyuz seats, because it is developing its own transport to the space station. 
And the European Space Agency has signaled that it will stop launching Russian Soyuz rockets from its French Guiana-based spaceport in the early 2020s.
All in all, the article is interesting reading and well worth checking out for its compilation of recent history and insights into the future of the Russian space program.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer. 

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