PUTIN TRANSFORMS ROSCOSMOS INTO STATE-OWNED CORPORATIONJanuary 5, 2016
In the wake of the recent deals concerning space that were inked between Russia and China, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree transforming Russia's troubled space agency, Roscosmos, into a state-owned corporation, according to this article shared by Ms. M.W.:
As the article would have it, the concern, at least, on the surface, is to curb the corruption that has plagued the space agency, a holdover from the Cold War:
ussian President Vladimir Putin is dissolving the country's Federal Space Agency, known as Roscosmos, and turning it into a state-run corporation, according to a statement by the Kremlin. That means Roscosmos will transform from a solely government-funded agency into a company that's overseen and partially backed by the government. It allows the organization to pursue the country’s overarching space goals while additionally conducting commercial affairs like other private spaceflight companies. The move is meant to fix an agency that has been plagued by corruption and major financial scandals.
The article also mentions the endless delays that have plagued the completion of RUssia's gigantic new launch facility in Vostochny, Siberia:
The decision to dissolve Roscosmos was approved by Putin in January of this year, as a way to shake up an agency that has been dealing with financial scandals, money troubles, and corruption for years. Construction of Russia's next big launch site, the Vostochny Cosmodrome, has been continuously delayed due to budget troubles. And in 2014, it was revealed that Roscosmos committed financial violations totaling more than $1.8 billion, according to Russia's public spending watchdog agency.
And let's not forget the ever-present "abuse of authority and documents forgery(!)":
Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the agency's poorly handled finances are also responsible for many of Russia's spacecraft accidents since 2010, including the failure of a Russian Progress resupply ship earlier this year. "We have uncovered acts of fraud, abuse of authority (and) document forgery," said Rogozin, according to the International Business Times. "With such a level of moral decay, one should not be surprised at the high accident rate."
Documents forgery? That opens all sorts of high-octane-speculation-cans-of-worms, one can being the "intentional sabotage" can, but unfortunately, much as I'd like to rehearse the curious string of launch failures, including Russia's Phobos Grunt Mars probe a few years ago (a launch that some in the Russian Defense Minsitry clearly claimed was deliberate sabotage by "radar interference" and "corrupted computer chips": and so on, pointing several fingers in the direction of Houton, Texas)... much as I'd like to rehearse that history and indulge in that sort of high octane speculation. I think the real thrust of this article is quite different.
The article concludes by noting that Mr. Putin's effort may or may not be successful, but it, or something like it, was necessary for the simple reason that Russia has announced large long term and ambitious space goals.
In other words, to understand what is going on, one must put it in that wide geopolitical and economic context implied by the Russo-Chinese space deals, and those very long term goals stated by the Russian(and Chinese) governments, goals which include permanent human colonies on other planets, beginning with our own Moon. Mr Putin's move, let us recall, also occurs in the wake of the US Congress recently passing an "asteroid mining" bill, and thus a move to corporatize Russia's space agency - to make it "compatible" with the emerging space-based economy, and therefore competitive - was a necessity. To his credit, Mr. Putin recognizes that space matters can no long be "business" as usual for the Russian space program. It must modernize, or be left behind, and Russia has no intention of being left behind. As I suggested previously, the buildup of infrastructure in Asia and the massive transport expansion which China and Russia are planning, suggests that a massive terrestrial infrastructure might be being created with one (of many) express purpose being precisely the creation of an infrastructure designed to support a massive expansion of space-based activities and commerce, and eventually colonization. By turning Roscosmos into a state-owned corporation, Mr. Putin may be putting into place the equivalent of a "Dutch East Indies" company, or a British Eats Indies company.
In other words, we're at the beginning of a story, not the end of a story about the winding down of a holdover from the Cold War.
See you on the flip side...