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posted by CoolHand on Wednesday May 27 2015, @06:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the in-soviet-russia-spaceship-rides-you dept.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has been abolished following the recent failure of a Progress M-27M spacecraft and the $1.8 billion (92 billion rubles) of financial violations committed during 2014. Auditors found "violations included inefficient use of funds, misuse of appropriated funds, and violations in fiscal reporting methods." The agency's budget had already been cut by 35 percent in March. The Moscow Times reports:

Asked why Golikova had singled out Roscosmos if violations are rampant throughout the government, Pavel Luzin, a space industry analyst at Perm State University, said "the government needs to explain the current bad situation with the space industry and space program."

Despite numerous efforts to reform the space industry since a long streak of crashes and high-profile failures began in 2010, Russian rockets continue to explode and officials are at a loss as to how to fix the space industry's problems.

But while corruption in the space industry hinders effective reform, Luzin said the Audit Chamber's report does not necessarily mean that Roscosmos has stolen 92 billion rubles.

"Violations just mean disorder, because the Russian flow of documents is very intricate and it is impossible to keep all of them in order. Sure, some shady deals are possible, and moreover they take place, but it doesn't mean that all of the 92 billion rubles have been stolen. That's impossible," Luzin said.

The space agency will be replaced by a state corporation, also called Roscosmos. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told a talk show that "It will take maybe another two to three years to intensively technically re-equip the rocket and space industry." He warned last week that Russia could lose its 40% share of the global commercial satellite launch market to firms such as SpaceX if reforms do not succeed.

[Editor's Comment: Original Submission]

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A Russian spacecraft that has been out of control since launching last week will fall back to Earth and burn up on Friday, scientists say. The unmanned cargo ship was launched from Kazakhstan last Tuesday, but contact was lost with it soon afterwards. The spacecraft, carrying three tonnes of equipment, will disintegrate as it enters Earth's atmosphere.

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Russia's space leader blusters about Mars in the face of stiff budget cuts

The leader of Russia's civil space program appears to be increasingly disengaged from reality. In recent months Dmitry Rogozin, the chief of Roscosmos, has given a series of interviews in which he has made all manner of big promises about the supposedly bright future of Russia's space program.

For example, in an interview published just today, Rogozin made the fantastical claim that his country's space program has the technical means to reach Mars and land cosmonauts there within eight to 10 years. If Russia is ready to finance such a plan, Rogozin guaranteed that Roscosmos stands ready to deliver.

Russia, Rogozin also recently said, is ready to do reuse better than SpaceX and the United States. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, he said, is only "semi-reusable," and Russia aspires to build a 21st-century rocket capable of 100 flights. He then reiterated that Russia would like to develop a version of its Soyuz rocket that has a methane-fueled engine.

SpaceX has flown its Falcon 9 first-stage rockets five times, and it plans to push toward reusing each booster 10 times. It is not clear what, if any, steps Russia has taken toward reuse. The reality is that Russia depends on reliable but decades-old technology to get into space. And while Rogozin talks a good game about sending his cosmonauts to the Moon or to Mars, and about competing with SpaceX on reusable rockets, this appears to be mostly bluster.

If you are still under any illusions about the state of Russia's space program, now is the time to dispel them.

Previously: Russian Space Agency Abolished and Replaced Following Financial Violations
Price War Between SpaceX and Russia
Russian Rocket Builder May Have Replaced Special Alloys With Cheap Metals
NASA and Roscosmos Release Joint Statement on ISS Leak Amid Rumors
Head of Russian Space Agency Roscosmos Wavers on Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Russia Space Chief Spars with Elon Musk Over Launch Pricing

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  • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Wednesday May 27 2015, @06:29PM

    by Hartree (195) on Wednesday May 27 2015, @06:29PM (#188716)

    "But it's still the same old gas"

    Oh wait. They didn't even change the name.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday May 27 2015, @08:07PM

      by frojack (1554) on Wednesday May 27 2015, @08:07PM (#188751) Journal

      Yeah, I found it interesting that the disbanded the old organization and named the new one exactly the same.

      You wonder how much of this is to get rid of a few corrupt management types and how much is to stiff any creditors.

      This would be the equivalent of the Congress shutting down NASA in the face of the Challenger Disaster, only to create a New NASA with a charter like the TVA or the Post Office.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by iWantToKeepAnon on Thursday May 28 2015, @02:40PM

        by iWantToKeepAnon (686) on Thursday May 28 2015, @02:40PM (#189092) Homepage Journal
        Saves a lot of time and money not changing documentation, legal wording in contracts, etc....
        "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Wednesday May 27 2015, @06:36PM

    by ikanreed (3164) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 27 2015, @06:36PM (#188719) Journal

    The idea of people besides his hand selected inner circle enriching themselves off the government of Russia is anathema to the Putin worldview.

    What surprises me most is that Putin hasn't engaged his "Blame the US" media engines for this one. Casting the corruption as being intentionally caused by CIA meddling seems like a cake-walk compared to saying the Ukraine invasion was to protect ethnic Russians from American-paid murderers.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 27 2015, @07:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 27 2015, @07:06PM (#188734)

      Falling oil prices have put the squeeze on their economy. Surely that must be because of the US.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Bot on Wednesday May 27 2015, @09:21PM

        by Bot (3902) on Wednesday May 27 2015, @09:21PM (#188787) Journal

        This is but one move, I think the next related ones will put space stuff in the hand of the armed forces. At least, this is what I'd do if I were the czar.

        Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 27 2015, @07:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 27 2015, @07:17PM (#188736)

      Which Ukraine invasions was this? The imaginary one?

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by ikanreed on Wednesday May 27 2015, @07:28PM

        by ikanreed (3164) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 27 2015, @07:28PM (#188740) Journal

        Soft invasions are a thing. Unless this is a joke I'm just not getting, how on earth can a ceasefire be built on the withdrawal of foreign soldiers without... you know... the original addition of those foreign soldiers?

        • (Score: 2) by Geotti on Wednesday May 27 2015, @09:19PM

          by Geotti (1146) on Wednesday May 27 2015, @09:19PM (#188786) Journal

          built on the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries

          ftfy. k? thx. bye.