Russia’s Vice Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov has recently visited the state-run missile and space center Progress located in the city of Samara. It is one of the world’s leading companies in the field of space technologies, their development and production. The enterprise has already developed 26 kinds of spacecraft in total. They are used for scientific research and experiments in the field of astrophysics, micro-gravitation, biotechnologies, space biology and medicine. Progress also makes ground-based launching complexes and Soyuz booster rockets. The enterprise runs a close cooperation with the European Space Agency.
Vice PM Ivanov visited the enterprise to discuss the problem of building new space complexes in Russia. The official said that Russia had run out of the space potential created during the Soviet era. The home space industry has lost the ability to develop and produce the space equipment. As a result, Russia experiences problems with obtaining reconnaissance, navigation and meteorological information. Specialists are forces to purchase a certain amount of required equipment abroad.
“Russia must not become the country that offers only launching services. We can not be just a space carrier,” Sergei Ivanov said.
The government has approved a federal target program for the development of the new IT technologies in the space industry. The Defense Ministry will be concluding only long-term contracts with enterprises of the industry. All the deals will be based on strict contractual obligations.
Sergei Ivanov said that a new Russian space port would be built near the town of Uglegorsk, the previous disposition of a space troops division. On November 6, 2007 President Putin signed a decree about the building of a new space port in Russia. Construction and test works will take about two years. First launches will be possible to make in 2015, whereas the launches of manned spacecraft will begin in 2015. It is not ruled out that the new space port will replace Baikonur - the main launching pad of the Russian and Soviet space industry.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov