Thursday, April 12, 2012

It Loses Something in the Translation

The Russian Federal Space Agency, commonly known as Roscosmos, has posted remarks by Prime Minister (and soon to be President again) Vladimir Putin as he addressed today a meeting on the development of Russia's space centers.

The posted remarks are in Russian, so I used Google Translate to translate into English.  It's not exact, but it'll do.

Regarding the ruble amounts, one ruble is worth about three cents, so when Putin says their space budget is 150 billion rubles, that works out to about $4.5 billion.  NASA's current fiscal year budget is about $17.7 billion.

Putin talks about modernization of the Plesetsk launch site.  The Obama administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget includes $500 million to continue upgrading Kennedy Space Center as part of the 21st Century Launch Complex program.

I found it interesting that Putin took the time to address this meeting, which is a demonstration of how much value he sees in their program.  As much as President Obama supports NASA, our space program could only benefit from his taking a more visible and aggressive leadership role.

Below are the remarks as translated by Google.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on the development of Russian space centers for the implementation of long-term programs in the field of space activities

Introductory remarks:

     Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!

    Before we move on to the agenda of our meeting today, I want to congratulate you all on the holiday - Cosmonautics Day, all those who worked in the space industry and continues to work in it, who did the most difficult, but always the most difficult - the first steps. I want to congratulate our space industry veterans and wish them all the best. Thank you for being here today with us.

Last year, we commonly observed a remarkable date in the history of our country, and in fact all over the world, all mankind, - the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight. In honor of this event, the Russian government has set up 10 awards Gagarin, and today on our first meeting is attended by the winners. I have more time to congratulate.

Dear colleagues, let me now say a few words on the essence of today's meeting. I propose to focus on the problems of ground infrastructure, to discuss plans for the modernization of the Plesetsk launch site, the task of building a new Russian cosmodrome East, as well as work with colleagues to develop Kazakhstan's Baikonur legendary. I note that in 2012 the implementation of space programs from the federal budget allocated about 150 billion rubles, including the development of space launch - more than 40.5 billion rubles. Moreover, plant and equipment is supposed to send it to the cosmodrome East - about 30 billion rubles. Last year we launched a full-scale construction of this facility. Will create not only the starting complexes, but also all the latest social and engineering infrastructure. In fact, it is necessary to build, you need to build a brand new, comfortable, modern city. Of course, we will not repeat what happened in the past, when people have to say directly saved in general. We have this glorious tradition, unfortunately, even today very often repeated, but in this case, we must act very differently: it is necessary to solve the problems of people, create decent living conditions. Of course, this is the direction to be the main, overriding priority in the construction of a new Russian cosmodrome.

In total, so for reference, I can say that the planned construction of the spaceport at East 42 houses built and 30 objects of socio-cultural and social infrastructure.

And of course, the creation of the Eastern spaceport will serve as a stimulus for development of the entire Far East region, will help to fully exploit the industrial potential of the Far East and Eastern Siberia, to attract highly qualified personnel in these regions.

Prior to 2015 from the East to be held the first launch to 2018 will be completed the second stage of the cosmodrome, the launch of manned spacecraft to be held in 2018. And I ask all concerned departments, all involved in the work of the Ministry to ensure strict adherence to these deadlines and schedules. Our goal is to Russia was a national space center, meeting the highest international standards and requirements. It is from this spaceport will be the majority of launches of space vehicles in the interests of different sectors of the economy and in international cooperation.

At the same time emphasize that only the presence of several Russian spaceports guarantee the full independence in space activities, will effectively use all the space technology, so we will continue to focus on modernizing existing Plesetsk space center, and - together, as I said, with our Kazakh friends and colleagues - Baikonur. Already in 2013 at Plesetsk to be created all conditions for the flight tests of rockets "Angara" light and heavy classes. And of course, together with our friends will continue, as I said, work at Baikonur.

I note in this connection that Baikonur is one of the employees: the number of annual launches, this launch site ranks first among all the spaceports around the world. In total, more than the entire 50-year history, was launched from Baikonur over 1.5 thousand spacecraft. In recent years the site of Baikonur, including widely used for the implementation of commercial space projects. Incidentally, the first commercial launch was carried out in 1995.

I think that we need to develop this area, and more - to work with the European Space Agency, with the countries that implement their own space programs. Now the world has been operating for more than 20 launch sites, the construction of new launching pads for rocket launch in China, Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, is actively developing Guiana Space Center, so that the demand for space services is very high, and I'm sure (in fact, among those present Specialists in this one no doubt) that the demand for space-based services will only grow. In this regard, I think that we need to develop a national strategy for space launch for the long term. The task - to provide a high return public investments, effectively co-ordinate work on the construction and modernization of space launch with other federal programs, with our plans for the development of the regions of the Russian Federation (in relation to East, the Far East and to the development of the Amur region).

The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Federal Space Agency V.A.Popovkin, representatives of ministries and departments of the Russian Federation, heads of enterprises of space industry.

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