The move of pushing the Russian space program from a federal agency to a corporation has been planned since two years ago. But today, the Russian Roscosmos has been dissolved by Vladimir Putin, being replaced by the Roscosmos State Corporation with the start of the new year.
Roscosmos has been a federal agency for decades up to now while the state initially created back in 2013 the United Rocket and Space Corporation as a means to renationalize the country’s journey to a much more viable space faring program. By dissolving Roscosmos and including it alongside URSC under the tutelage of the new RSC, the whole space industry of Russia will be controlled by only one major state corporation.
Although this move will not bring any radical changes to the sector on a short term, it will facilitate the nation’s state effort by a significant margin. The whole affair, in regards to technical, financial and material issues, will be overseen by the Cabinet of Ministers completely, in accordance with the Russian President’s decree.
The move of centralizing Russia’s space efforts has been planned by Putin because of Roscosmos’ prior failures, corruption issues and massive mission delays. On the 5th of December, the Kanopus-ST satellite got destroyed because it failed to separate from its launch rocket, while, on the 16th of May, the Proton-M rocket booster exploded shortly after lift-off procedures.
The aforementioned boosters have suffered numerous failures since they were first introduced back in 2012, impacting the whole Russian space program immensely with delays. This immediately signaled the country’s government that a reform in this sector is urgently required, as well as massive reorganization movements.
Corruption has also been a major factor towards making this decision. The spaceport named the Vostochny Cosmodrome has been affected by corruption investigations, hunger-strikes made over unpaid wages and other similar events, postponing its opening time and time again.
But this dissolve does not come with benefits only. Massive budget cuts are expected in the following years. The manned lunar exploration mission has also been allegedly scrapped, with the state focusing more on deep space exploration. In regards to this, the rocket’s first stage part has already been constructed, with the whole super-heavy launch vehicle designed for deep space missions being planned for a 2025 launch.
By entering the space-faring race, Russia will have to face the current leading companies like NASA and Elon Musk’s Space X, which has already built a renewable rocket. The Russian Soyuz rocket cannot be reused at all while the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft can be recovered and reused almost completely.
Although the Russian Roscosmos has been dissolved by Vladimir Putin, effectively creating a better environment for Russia’s space programs, the competition against NASA, SpaceX, and other space-faring companies will be a long and arduous one to say the least. Only time will tell if the new Roscosmos Space Corporation will be able to fare better in comparison to its previous installments.