Will the bottom of the Russian cosmonautics in 2018?

The past year was a holiday on the street of critics of Roskosmos - a private company, SpaceX, performed a number of launches that could be compared with the state space agency (exact figures will cause controversy over Zenit accessories and launches from Kourou). At the same time, all SpaceX launches were commercial, and the company earned money on them, and from Russian launches only four had a commercial customer for the main payload. Of course, one cannot directly compare a private company and a state agency, but quite recently, Russia not only was in the lead in terms of the number of launches, but also a serious share was held by commercial ones. In such circumstances, the most important question is whether the fall will continue further, or will we see signs of improvement in 2018?

Photo: Roscosmos

Winter starts count

Domestic launches of 2017 can be divided into the following areas:

For 2018, different sources publish different information about the number of launches, but in an optimistic scenario there may be more than thirty of them. First of all, the time has come to replenish the GLONASS grouping, it is planned to produce, according to various sources, from four to as many as eleven launches. Other programs will also be carried out - the connected "Blagovest", the Tundra missile attack warning satellites. Further, in 2018, the results of the contract signed in 2015 for the launch of OneWeb Internet distributors will begin to appear. About seven hundred satellites are planned to be withdrawn, and under the contract, 21 Soyuz missiles have already been ordered , which will work in the coming years. Small in number, but not value, will have to be launches of the Spectr-RG observatory and the ISS Nauka module. And, as expected, the Proton will fly more often.

Crouching "Proton"

One of the two main commercial “horses” of the Russian cosmonautics, the Proton rocket, spent half of 2017 on forced leave because of the almost-happened accident of 2016 and quality problems that occurred some time later. In 2018, if new accidents do not happen, the Proton can start up to seven times, which should return it to its usual level of activity. It is extremely difficult to predict the number of contracts that can be concluded in the future. The market has become more competitive, sagging the number of orders for geostationary satellites as such, Proton seems to have ceased to be the cheapest means of launching into geostationary orbit, and the situation is further complicated by political tensions. From the good it is worth recalling about the developing “Proton Medium”, in which they are going to reduce the cost, removing one step, but it is expected not earlier than 2019.

Hidden "Angara"

Conflicting information comes in regards to the return to flights of the Angara launch vehicle, which, after two test launches in 2014, was already delayed by four years due to the modifications and the relocation of production from Moscow to Omsk. Some sources write about a possible launch at the end of 2018, according to how far the deadlines have shifted, it will be possible to try to draw conclusions about the situation.

Long-suffering "Science"

Once again, the “Science” module for the ISS, which was supposed to start in 2013, came out to the finish line. Since then, he has survived many misadventures, because it was impossible to just pick up and replace contaminated fuel tanks. It seems that now and Roskosmos Center. Khrunichev is determined to be determined and they are still going to launch the “Science”. Rumor has it that the module does not end, or else the warranty periods for some components, such as rubber seals, have already expired. Rumors are denied at the official level, but perhaps the launch at the end of this year is the last chance of "Science". The alternative is to refuse to launch the module in general and have serious reputational losses. However, maybe everything is not so scary - in the nine months of preparation for the launch, the module can be fully and slowly sorted out, catching potential problems. The story of "Science" raises another question - against the background of the same type of "Dawn", which was the first module of the ISS, "Science" will have time to work much less before the end of the life of the ISS. But will it become the core of the future national station, or will another fate await it only in the mid-2020s.

Rare astronauts

A separate sad story is the open set for astronauts announced last year. Despite the fact that 379 applications were submitted for it, more than last time, the deadline was repeatedly extended. And I can not imagine any other reason for this other than the lack of candidates. According to the available information, not a single finalist was selected by the end of October, and now there are only three (however, the official report is more positive). Why did this happen? Cosmonaut profession lost its appeal? Did bad campaign informational support exist? It remains to be learned. In some form, we should see the results of the selection in 2018, but, I am afraid, this will be a rather sad spectacle.

Such different finances

The extremely positive results of 2017 are presented by Roscosmos TV in this video.

And there are interesting figures there - the net profit of enterprises in the industry amounted to 13 billion rubles, which is 4 times higher than the 2016 figures. This is good news, but it seems that profits still have room to grow. Last year, a slide appeared at one of the conferences.

Source: social network

Will our satellites become more profitable? And is there any hope that work will be done faster?

Surprising surprises

Despite the fact that the industry has been adopting programs for several years ahead, the past year has shown that Russian cosmonautics is ready to surprise us with unexpected news. The news that the Federation ship being developed is shifting from the Angara to the new Soyuz-5 missile was clearly the most striking. On the one hand, such surprises cause the sensation of throwing back and forth without a strategic plan, on the other hand, flexibility is often useful. Alas, only time will tell which definition will be more correct. One of the most recent surprises - RSC Energia wants to revive space tourism, for which in five years it is planned to create a special tourism module for the ISS. Tourists at the station have not been for many years, and the creation of special opportunities for them may be useful and beneficial. And what surprises await us in 2018?


Honestly, I would like the publication to have more answers and fewer questions. But, alas, the situation remains uncertain, and 2018 may turn out to be very different. At the very least, follow the news will be even more interesting.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/409351/

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