Rocket Failures May Spur Change In Russian Federal Space Agency: Report

It appears that the Russian government wants to take action over the string of unmanned mission failures beleaguering Roscosmos, or the Russian Federal Space Agency. A recent example includes the loss in June of three GLONASS navigation/positioning satellites in a launch failure. In 2011, Roscosmos lost four major missions, including the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft that was bound for the Martian moon Phobos.

RIA Novosti reports that Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, plans to create a new state entity to take over space manufacturing. The proposed United Rocket and Space Corporation, the report says, will reduce the reliance on imported parts to get missions off the ground, among other aims.

“A new state corporation will be created to take over manufacturing facilities from the Federal Space Agency, whose prestige has been severely dented in recent years by a string of failed rocket launches,” the report says. “The proposed United Rocket and Space Corporation will enable the trimming away of redundant departments replicated elsewhere in the space industry.”

As for Roscosmos itself, the report hints that other changes could be on the way. Its envisioned role is to “act as a federal executive body and contracting authority for programs to be implemented by the industry.” There are expected to be changes in management, among other measures.

The agency was formed after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and is responsible for most of Russia’s space activities. Russia’s heritage in space actually stretches back to the dawn of the space age in the 1950s and 1960s, when the country became the first nation to launch a satellite (Sputnik) and a human (Yuri Gagarin), among other milestones.

Read the whole report in Roscosmos.

Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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