27 december 2012

Government meeting



Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues, this is the last Government meeting in the outgoing year. I have said more than once that one of our priorities is to elaborate budgets based on targeted programmes. Today we will discuss a draft of the federal space exploration programme for 2013-2020.

Historically, our standing in space exploration is among the strongest in the world, but we must not slack up if we want to maintain it. Russia has been and will always be a leading space power, but we must also admit that the industry has quite a few problems. You probably remember that I have held three meetings – in August, September and November – on optimising the industry’s management and enhancing the quality and reliability of our rocket and space technology.

The draft of the federal programme is aimed at resolving these issues and also at ensuring Russia’s defence capability and security, at bolstering its socio-economic development, and last but not the least, at promoting space exploration projects. This programme will allow Russia to become a full-fledged participant of ambitious joint projects, such as the International Space Station and missions to the Moon, Mars and other objects in the Solar System.

Total funding under the programme is very large, 2.1 trillion roubles, including extra-budgetary financing. Given such resource support, aerospace industry enterprises should boost labour productivity, upgrade the features of space equipment and its reliability as well as the reliability of surface infrastructure. I’d like to emphasise that reliability is the key indicator of their performance. It is also necessary to consolidate the export potential of the industry, particularly in the market of launch services and sales of space vehicles, and make domestic navigation and telecommunications services competitive and accessible.

I’m pleased to say that all members of the Government Expert Council have taken an active part in drafting this document. Roscosmos (the Russian Space Agency) has taken into account their remarks and recommendations in polishing up this programme. They concern the need to introduce competition in the industry and attract private investment.

We must also review the draft state defence order for 2013-2015. The federal budget has allocated fairly substantial funds for its implementation. The bulk of the funds will be spent on priority areas of military-technical and material support of the Armed Forces, while the state defence order is closely linked with the plans and strategies of the domestic defence and civilian industries.

Technical and software tools of the state automated system of assessing financial and technological risks have also been used for the first time this year. We hope the effective use of the allocated funds under the new Federal Law on the State Defence Order will allow us to carry out one of our main tasks – to reequip our troops with modern and effective combat equipment.

One of the items on our agenda is a draft law aimed at supporting small and medium business. I’m referring to the need to improve procedures for the disposal of the property of regions and municipalities that are rented by small companies. Let me recall that we have already adopted similar laws that allow medium and small companies to buy our rented premises at a preferential rate. The current draft suggests increasing the number of premises that can be bought out and expanding the range of privileges (as representatives of small business have requested all the time). Thus, those who have rented a premise in good faith for more than five years as of September 1 will receive the right to buy it after simply providing notification.

One more high-profile issue that we will discuss concerns recreational fishing. Millions of people in this country fish for pleasure and this is part of our recreation and, in fact, our life. The draft law on recreational fishing is the result of joint efforts by legislators, public organisations and all those who are interested in this issue. It has gone through many public discussions and has been submitted to the Government after remarks and amendments were taken into account.

The main point I want to make is that recreational fishing, fishing as a hobby, will remain accessible and free for all people without exception and the absolute majority (90%) of water bodies will be free of any commercial charges. So those who like angling should have no problems. That said, we will make certain administrative requirements, such as special permits, particularly on valuable fish species. To sum up, the draft contains many provisions and I’d like to repeat that it has been thoroughly elaborated.

Before we start discussing the first item, I’d like to congratulate all Russian rescue workers with their professional holiday. It would be no exaggeration to say that this is a holiday not only for the employees of the Emergencies Ministry but also for tens of thousands of people whom they have saved or helped in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances. I’d like to thank the personnel of the ministry and volunteers for their difficult but indispensable work. Please accept our congratulations!

Okay, let’s get down to work.

The first report is about the draft state programme on Russia’s space activity. Mr Popovkin, go ahead please.

Considering that we have such a big agenda and a meeting with the President afterwards, I’d like to ask you to be as brief as possible, all the more so since I have already described the main assets of this programme.

Thank you.

The floor is yours.

Vladimir Popovkin (Head of the Federal Space Agency): Mr Medvedev, colleagues. We submit for your consideration the draft state programme, Russia’s Space Activities for 2013-2020.

As shown in the first slide, the programme has been developed based on Russia’s space policies until 2020, approved by the Russian President, and the draft basics until 2030, which have been adopted by all the ministries and will be presented to you and later will be submitted to the President.

The Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) is responsible for the execution of the programme, the Defence Ministry is co-executor. In all, ten ministries and agencies, as well as the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy are involved. According to the priorities of our space policy, the forecast for the development of space activities and its main problems, the state programme is targeted at providing guaranteed access, Russia’s presence in space for the benefit of science and the social and economic spheres, defence and security, while preserving Russia’s leading positions and the execution of its international obligations.

The objectives of the state programme are shown on the second slide. There are six objectives, and I would like to speak about the main three. They include: the deployment and support of the necessary orbital clusters of Russian spacecraft. The second objective is to create a new space centre, Vostochny, in Russia to modernise the Plesetsk space centre and to maintain the Baikonur space centre. The third objective is to provide conditions for expanding the services rendered using the results of space activities.

While developing the draft programme, external conditions for the programme’s implementation were worked out along with domestic problems, which mostly include space activities in Russia that you mentioned in your introductory address.

And regarding external conditions. Space activities are developing very rapidly all over the world. Today over 120 countries are involved in space activities. In 60 countries, space agencies have been established and space programmes elaborated. The international market is developing dynamically. It has grown from $170 billion to $250 billion in the past five years, and will continue developing in the same manner. The sector of production of rocket and space equipment of which Roscosmos is in charge totals $72 billion, with Russia’s share accounting for a little over 10%. We control more than 30% of all the funding for ensuring  launching  services globally. Our share in the production of spacecraft is 7%. The rest of the market, which is over 115 billion roubles, consists of revenues from the services’ operators, including television, the Internet and telecommunications; a little more than 50 billion is obtained through ground equipment for receiving  information from space. Russia holds 1-1.7% of the market, according to different estimates. There is the necessary reserve there which must be used.

You have already mentioned domestic problems.

In our opinion, the main thing – which may seem like a contradiction – is that broader use of space services and technology, including for addressing increasingly more challenging tasks, have tightened requirements for space technology, and especially for future equipment with improved consumer specifications. This has created a systemic problem for the space industry, which is unable to meet the new requirements of the state and the international space market.

The necessary instructions were issued at the three meetings that you chaired, and plans for their implementation have been laid out. In January we will report on the need to change the system of management and to reform the space industry.

The programme was drafted with due regard for the above goal and is focused on three priorities as shown on Slide 5.

The first priority is to ensure Russia guaranteed access to space, to design and use space technology and services for socioeconomic purposes, to promote the development of the space industry and to implement Russia’s international commitments. This priority is based first of all on the need to ensure the largest possible contribution of space technology [to the national economy], to enhance the efficiency of industries and to promote socioeconomic development of Russian regions.

Our second priority is to design spacecraft to satisfy the requirements of science. This includes the qualitative improvement of space technology, which is becoming the main tool for increasing our knowledge about the universe. Progress in this sphere will secure Russia's leading positions in studying the natural laws of the development of the world, the origins of life, and the development of energy and other resources of space.

The third priority is to plan and implement manned missions. This is only the third priority, because we will continue to use the International Space Station until 2020. At the same time, we plan to start creating new manned spacecraft. But the main practical events will be planned for the period after the end of this programme, that is, after 2020.

We will implement these priorities within the framework of the adjusted Federal Space Programme, which you approved on 15 December. Budget funding of communication satellites, remote Earth sensing and fundamental space studies under this programme have been doubled to satisfy these new priorities, although overall spending on this programme has not been increased. Considering this, Slide 7 shows the planned new spacecraft that we will create in the first stage of the programme (until 2015) and in the second stage, from 2016 to 2020.

As for carrier rockets, I’d like to point out one thing. At the bottom you can see a new heavy lift oxygen/hydrogen upper stage, which should replace the existing Briz and DM upper stages, which are based on Soviet-era technology. One of them was designed on the basis of the post-boost vehicle of ballistic missiles, and the other was borrowed from the Moon programme of the 1960s – with improvements, of course. These projects have integral opportunities for improvement.

As a result of the programme’s implementation – see Slide 8 – we will orbit a group of 95 satellites by 2015 and 113 satellites by 2020.

Slides 9 through 12 show the development of spacecraft by sector. I will not provide the details, but with regard to communications spacecraft (Slide 9), we can say that we will increase their number by 2.5 times by 2015 and by three times by 2020. The channel capacity will increase dramatically, with so many new satellites... Moreover, we plan to start using the millimetre waveband by 2015 and the optical waveband by 2020. As for remote sensing, we will increase the number of satellites fourfold by 2015, and the frequency... To date, the view periodicity of Russian-made satellites is five or six days; it should be reduced to one or two days (depending on a given region) by 2015 and no more than eight hours by 2020.

Much has been said about the GLONASS system, but I nevertheless want to point out two things. The current accuracy of measurement is 2.8 metres. We plan to reduce it to 1.4 metres by 2015 and to 0.6 metres by 2020. Considering the achievements we have already implemented, the measurement accuracy will be less than 10 centimetres.

As for science (Slide 12), we are in fact working to restore the famed research school of the Soviet era. We have launched the Spektr-R radio telescope, which is studying distant galaxies in the radio band, and are expanding to the X-ray band, the millimetre and the UV bands. In fact, we can now do this in all wavebands.

We have launched the study of the Sun and planets of the Solar System. We are focusing efforts on the study of the Moon with due consideration of all the important research data obtained in the last decade. We have achieved a completely new level of quality of flights. We certainly could not include all of our plans in the programme because part of the… We have problems – problems with special chemicals, and rocket technology, engineering, optics, cryogenic technology, material engineering and radio electronics. But these problems are addressed in other programmes, and we have agreed on that. I am referring to the defence potential programmes, development of new technologies, radio electronics programme and so on.

So, Slide 14 shows our industrial projections. Production volumes will more than double compared with 2011, and labour productivity will grow by 123%. We will increase the share of upgraded equipment from 20% to 60%. As a result we expect to account for 16% of the global aerospace technology market, up from the current 10%.

Dmitry Medvedev: Which country has the biggest share of the global market?

Vladimir Popovkin: America holds the biggest niche.

Dmitry Medvedev: How big?

Vladimir Popovkin: It is currently about 60%. But it mainly includes services, not products. North America accounts for 70% of TV and radio services.

Dmitry Medvedev: I see.

Vladimir Popovkin: In absolute figures, Russian sales will grow by over 150% at this pace. We are not limiting ourselves to making space equipment: over the past few years, we took a series of decisions aimed at using space solutions for the sake of socio-economic development. We are working intensively to develop the national infrastructure of space services centres (See Slide 15).  We have established a number of regional and municipal centres, more than 10 such centres whose job is to show the regions, I mean the regional leaders, how space technologies can be used to yield profit, what products and services can be offered.

As you said, a 2.12 trillion roubles programme has been agreed with all ministries and agencies. I must say how much I appreciate the effort the expert council has put into making this happen. We have indeed worked hard over the last two months, we have finalised a lot of things, so I can say this is now joint production. The only three expert proposals we failed to include deal with the need to set up a personal satellite communications and data transmission system, Gonets; the Luch retranslation system; and the expediency of developing the Vostochny space port. But as far as I know, the issue has been resolved at a meeting chaired by Minister Mikhail Abyzov.

Overall, if I were to describe the programme’s two stages, I would say the first stage until 2015 is reclaiming the capabilities we had back in Soviet time, and the second stage, from 2015-2020, involves the consolidation of these capabilities and creating conditions for a breakthrough based on new space technologies.

Considering all the above, I propose approving the Aerospace Programme for 2013-2020.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Mr Popovkin, please take your seat.

Colleagues, you have watched a presentation on the programme. Any comments or ideas? (Addressing Sergei Donskoi) Please.

Sergei Donskoi (Minister of Natural Resources and Environment): Yes, Mr Medvedev, we have something to add. We have made a comment even as we were considering the part of this programme pertaining to hydrometeorological services. We said that Russia’s weather service, Roshydromet, which is the primary user of satellite information, just like its foreign counterparts, is not involved in the programme. However, Roshydromet is mentioned in the amendments to the federal space programme adopted in mid-December.

My opinion is that Roshydromet should be a co-agent in this programme, because the plan calls for setting up a major hydrometeorology group. Roshydromet should certainly be involved.

Dmitry Medvedev: I see. Thank you. Are there any other opinions? Go ahead please (Addressing Mikhail Abyzov).

Mikhail Abyzov (Minister of the Russian Federation): Mr Medvedev, colleagues. This programme has indeed been significantly reworked over the last two months, and many of its indicators were revised. However, this meeting’s draft resolution proposes adjusting some parts of the programme based on the following logic.

First, we need to take into account the goals and objectives of the planned restructuring of the sector. A decision on the new structure of this industry is to be made in the first half of 2013, and certain parts of this programme will have to be reworked again accordingly. The changes could affect the list of agents as well as the format of the solutions proposed.

Second, we believe we need to include the possibility of extra-budgetary financing for certain parts of this programme. We need to consider relevant international experience of attracting private capital, on the one hand, and the possibility of international cooperation, on the other. Also, key indicators need to be adjusted on one of the parts of the programme depending on the federal space strategy to be developed by a working group and adopted. The expert council will continue working along these lines in the first quarter, and proposals will be developed to adjust the draft resolution, following relevant instructions. Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. Are there any other ideas? What do you think about the Roshydromet problem?

Remark: We think that Roshydromet can be included as one of the programme participants, as they have approved the programme, but there wasn’t anything like that before.

Dmitry Medvedev: Fine, they are included.

Good. Thank you. Mr Rogozin (Dmitry Rogozin), could you please say something in conclusion.

Dmitry Rogozin: Thank you. Mr Medvedev, colleagues.

I would like to say that there are a few truly remarkable things about this programme – I am referring to its very pragmatic targets and reliable performance.

The expert council has actually worked very hard as part of the working group you have created Mr Medvedev. This work will continue into the first quarter of 2013. And of course we will be making suggestions concerning the draft resolution presented to the government. We have also noted the need to return to the matter of adjusting specific provisions of the programme in the second quarter of the next year.

On the whole, I must say that the number of accidents has been significantly reduced as a result of this year’s extensive efforts by the Roscosmos agency and the Government. This year, the number of accidents fell from six to one. Unfortunately, we have had one accident, in August, and a few technical breakdowns in December. But on the whole, compared with global statistics, Russia is no worse than others, so to speak. I would also like to inform colleagues that a proposal to optimise the aerospace industry will be developed by March 2013 as part of cooperation between the Government’s expert council and Roscosmos. The industry is not working to capacity and it does not have a uniform technology policy. There is a certain technological backwardness as well. We will propose setting up several targeted holding companies. We have already delivered preliminary reports, but we will finalise our proposals by March. Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. All right colleagues, let’s conclude our debates on this programme. I suggest supporting it. Any objections? Agreed.


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