Tag Archives: URSC

Putin endorses Russian government consolidation of space industry

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday strongly endorsed the decision by the Russian government to consolidate control of that country’s entire space industry into a single, government-run corporation.

Putin said the plan to unite the federal space agency, Roscosmos, with United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC) in a new corporate behemoth that will retain the Roscosmos name was “the right proposal” during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the TASS news agency reported. The union would meld the federal space agency’s strategic oversight function with the industrial might of state-owned URSC — which was itself created from the union of some of Russia’s key space firms in an effort to increase efficiency in 2013.

Shades of the cold war! Even as the U.S. space industry is shifting away from government control to private enterprise, Russia is returning to it. We shall see which model works best as the world competes to get to the stars.

A Russian commercial reusable space shuttle?

A news report from Russia today described a project to build a commercial and reusable space shuttle for putting tourists into space.

The company, KosmoKurs, presently has eight employees and says it will launch by 2020. However, this quote from the article illustrates the difficulties faced by any new private companies in Russia:

Russian rocket and space industry is planned to produce this space shuttle. “We will talk to the United Rocket and Space Corporation. If we find common language, we will manufacture produce jointly with them,” the KosmoKurs head said. The company also pins hopes on backing of Russian Federal Space Agency and its scientific institutes.

Since Russia has now consolidated its entire aerospace industry into one government-controlled entity called the United Rocket and Space Corporation, any new private effort needs to get the cooperation of that company as well as the agreement of the government officials who control it. Such backing is not so easy to get, especially if the new company is seen as competition and a distraction from government goals.

Russia to match SpaceX launch prices

The competition heats up: The head of Russia’s United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC), which now controls that country’s entire space industry, said today that they intend to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 much cheaper launch prices.

They intend to do it with both the Proton rocket as well as their new family of Angara rockets. The heavy version of Angara will allow them to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, and in fact might even put more payload into orbit for less.

The Putin government moves to take control of Energia

Vitaly Lopota, the president of Russia’s largest space company Energia, was suspended Friday by the company’s board of directors.

The move appears to be part of an effort by Russia’s government to obtain majority control over Energia, of which it owns a 38-percent share. The directors elected Igor Komarov as its new chairman of the board. Komarov is chief of the Russian United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC), the government-owned company tasked with consolidating Russia’s sprawling space sector.

The government is also conducting a criminal investigation of Lopota, which might be justified but to me nonetheless appears to be a power play designed to both eliminate him from the game as well as make sure everyone else toes the line so that URSC can take complete control.

Russia abandons Sea Launch

Running from competition: The Russian space agency Roskosmos has decided not to spend the money necessary to buy Sea Launch and make it part of its consolidated United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC).

Part of the reason the Russians are abandoning Sea Launch is that the rocket the ocean-going platform uses is the Ukrainian-built Zenit rocket, and Russia wants URSC to a wholly Russian operation. Rather than partner with Ukraine for profit, they will let the business die.