[FPSPACE] Deputy PM Sergei Ivanov publicly criticizes Roscosmos
pjp961 at svol.net
Wed Mar 2 09:03:06 EST 2011
>From Agency France Presse, via Raw Story
Russia slams 'childish' space agency errors
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 28th, 2011 -- 7:01 pm
MOSCOW - Russian space agency Roskosmos has committed "childish" errors and
failed to build enough spacecraft, the government said Monday in an
unprecedented rebuke to the Russian equivalent of NASA.
Russia's powerful Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov issued the dressing
down at a meeting with Roskosmos's leadership after two satellite launches
ended in partial or complete failure in the last three months.
In December three Glonass navigation satellites ended up plummeting into the
Pacific off the US state of Hawaii after launch due to what officials
concluded was a simple fuel miscalculation.
And this month Russia put its new Geo-IK-2 military satellite into the wrong
orbit, rendering it useless for defence purposes.
"The recent failure with the Glonass satellites is a characteristic
example," Ivanov said. "I won't go into details, this was a mistake, but a
childish one and a mistake that had serious consequences."
"Any repeat of the mistakes of the recent past -- and I am referring to the
loss of the Glonass satellites and the partial Geo-IK failure -- is of
course unacceptable," he warned, quoted by Russian news agencies.
The failures have been particularly painful as Russia gears up to celebrate
in April the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man in
space, still seen as one of the most important achievements in its history.
First Deputy Defence Minister Vladimir Popovkin bluntly declared last week
"that the Geo-IK-2 spacecraft is lost for the Defence Ministry. It will not
be used for its intended purpose."
Ivanov said that the failed launch of the Glonass satellites alone had cost
Russia 2.5 billion rubles ($86 million, 63 million euros).
The head of Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, said the cause of the Glonass
failure had been insufficient control over new technology.
Meanwhile, Ivanov said that Roskosmos had failed to meet its goals in the
production of spacecraft and rockets, saying that in 2010 it produced only
five out of the 11 spacecraft it was supposed to make.
He said that six spacecraft for civilian purposes had failed to launch in
2010 due to the delays.
"And I am not even talking about the systematic delays to launch dates which
were a consequence of the spacecraft not being ready," he added.
Ivanov also criticised Roskosmos for failing to properly insure the Glonass
satellites, after the agency conceded last year its policy did not cover the
"Where is the insurance?" he was quoted as saying. "Everything needs to be
insured according to real market prices using real insurance mechanisms," he
Russia on Saturday successfully launched a Glonass satellite from its
northern Plesetsk launchpad, restoring some pride after the catastrophic
The Russian space programme suffered from a sharp drop in funding after the
fall of the Soviet Union, and Roskosmos has sent several paying space
tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) to help make ends meet.
Yet the onus on Russia is set to grow when NASA takes the US shuttle out of
service this year, leaving the Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft as the
sole delivery systems for taking humans to the ISS.
Ivanov said Russia remained the world leader in the number of space
launches, with 31 last year, while the United States performed 16. Russia
currently has 114 satellites in space, he said.
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