Dmitry Rogozin: we have a strategic vision of the development of cosmonautics
Roscosmos is preparing to conquer the moon. The development of a unified space program of the country until 2030 is nearing completion, one of the emphasis of which will be made on the study of a natural satellite of the Earth using automatic space stations and preparation for a manned lunar mission. When this program will be approved, what other scientific tasks does the state corporation set for itself, what space technology will be needed for this and with whom Russia will cooperate in conquering the moon, in an interview with the special correspondent of RIA Novosti Dmitry Strugovets said the general director of the state corporation for space activities Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin .
DS - Among your plans, voiced back in 2018, was the unification of all federal programs related to space into a single and interconnected space program of Russia. Until now, the Federal Space Program, the "GLONASS" Federal Target Program, and the "Russian Cosmodromes" Federal Target Program have been adopted in different years and for different periods of time, which created problems in the interconnection of the activities being implemented. What is the current state of the development of a unified program? When will it be submitted to the government, what funds will it require?
DR - What we are talking about now is really a whole host of different programs that were adopted at different times - Federal Target Program " GLONASS", Federal Target Program" Cosmodromes of Russia ", issues related to the defense industry development program. We also work within the framework of the state armaments program, which is adopted for 10 years with adjustments every five years. When I came to the government in early 2012, my main task as head of the Military-industrial Commission under the government, which then turned into a board of MIC, was the preparation of the state program of armaments for 2011-2020 and defense industry development programs. Based on his personal experience of a gigantic system of control, coming to Roscosmos, I thought it right to combine the disparate programs in the space sphere and make them according to the principle of the state armaments program - so that the planning period was at least 10 years, but every five years the program was adjusted, and continuity was observed. So that there is no situation like we have now, when no one sees the horizon beyond 2025, when the current Federal Space Program ends.
The President supported my approach in principle. Then the routine work began with our ministries and departments to make comments. The last months have been spent on negotiating disputes with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development. As a result, what do we have now? This month we are submitting the most important remaining sections of the program for approval to the government. The unified state program of space activities of Russia should be submitted to the government in its entirety by the end of this year, in order to have confirmed funding from 2021. The single program will include the Federal Target Program "GLONASS", a subprogram for the development of a super-heavy rocket and space complex, a program for creating a multi-satellite orbital group "Sphere", sections related to the creation of ground space infrastructure at the Vostochny cosmodrome, investment projects,
If we talk about the required amount of funding, then only the president can name the final figure. He, having strategic information about the capabilities of the state, must approve the amount of funding. It is not a fact that this figure will be final. I remember how in December 2015 the parameters of the Federal Space Program for 2016-2025 were discussed and at a meeting with the President in Sochi its ceiling was determined - 1 trillion 406 billion rubles. Let me emphasize that this is two times less than Roscosmos requested then. But in the end, this amount of funds was also cut. We are asked: "Where are our scientific vehicles, Mars, Venus, the lunar program?" Here they are all there, in these "optimizations", their history of debates with the Ministry of Finance broke them. I suppose that this time too we will have a difficult conversation with the Ministry of Finance.
DS - Last week it became known that the Ministry of Finance is proposing to cut spending on space by 60 billion rubles. How serious will it be to the Russian space program?
DR - I believe that now in no case should the funding of the Federal Space Program be cut. Moreover, we insist that we return the funds that were cut earlier, these are hundreds of billions. How to work in such conditions, I don't really understand. Yes, we are aware that the proposed reduction should affect not only the space program, but I believe that there are things that simply cannot be touched. Most of the activities that we implement are long-term. The contracts have already been signed. How to reduce, what to refuse? You cannot reduce existing projects. It will just stop them. Refuse to create new technology? Let them tell us what we don't need. Moon research is not needed? Let them say. Don't need to monitor space debris? Let them talk about it. Someone is so brave who will sign such a document? I would not like to dramatize for now, but we are preparing for this conversation. We have argumentation, we have a formulated position. We see that the leading foreign space agencies are increasing their budgets. This is despite the fact that they already have more funding than ours. There should be some comparable figures. Let our budget be three to four times less than that of partners, but not 20 times. It's just not serious. but not 20 times the same. It's just not serious. but not 20 times the same. It's just not serious.
DS - Usually, scientific programs suffer first of all during sequestration. What new scientific tasks are spelled out in the space program until 2030?
DR - We have several projects that we consider important to implement within this period. Firstly, launches of automatic spacecraft to the Moon should become annual, so that we can work out all the technologies associated with landing on the lunar surface and receive safety guarantees during a manned flight to the Moon. If we complete the launches of unmanned stations in 2025, what guarantees will we have that we will be able to ensure a regular landing of the crew in 2030?
Second, we believe that we need to return to the Venus exploration program. It has always been a "Russian planet"; only Soviet vehicles landed on it. I think Venus is more interesting than Mars. By and large, the heat effect that, according to an extremely dangerous scenario, played out on Venus, led to what is happening there now. If we do not study the processes occurring on Venus, then we do not have an understanding of how to prevent such a scenario for the development of events on our planet. Exploration of Venus is a very interesting task, but very difficult, because there is colossal atmospheric pressure, a toxic composition of the atmosphere, constant storms, and extremely high temperatures. To land on Venus, you need to create a super apparatus with heat-resistant equipment. Nevertheless, we have a similar experience. Now specialists from NPO Lavochkin have raised the documentation of Soviet studies and are studying them. But I think that it would be interesting not only to land a spacecraft on Venus, but also to return the soil to Earth. This would truly be a breakthrough in basic space science. We know how to do this. I have already been informed about the decisions of the engineering and design plan in this regard. Whether this will be done within the framework of the next mission "Venus-D" or another mission is another question. Whether together with the Americans or independently is up to discussion. I prefer myself. I have already been informed about the decisions of the engineering and design plan in this regard. Whether this will be done within the framework of the next mission "Venus-D" or another mission is another question. Whether together with the Americans or independently is up to discussion. I prefer myself. I have already been informed about the decisions of the engineering and design plan in this regard. Whether this will be done within the framework of the next mission "Venus-D" or another mission is another question. Whether together with the Americans or independently is up to discussion. I prefer myself.
Working with partners is two-faced - it's like a coin. On the one hand, it seems that we are gaining new competencies, but on the other, as the experience of ExoMars shows, we are falling out of schedule. After all, everything was going well according to the Russian-European project ExoMars. Yes, we had a very narrow corridor in terms of reserve time, but it completely burned out with this pandemic. A plant in Turin has been quarantined. Neither our specialists could go there, nor the Italians themselves and other Europeans could go there to finish the work. And the "launch window" collapsed, and the next "train to Mars" leaves only two years later - in September 2022. To be honest, I am simply offended, because we had everything ready, we did all the work. The rocket is there, the Kazachok landing module is fully developed, all the technical issues that were associated with it, resolved. We were fully prepared to launch the lander to Mars. If we had prepared the mission ourselves, I have no doubt that we would have flown. We need to understand and respect the problems of partners. As a result, we now have what we have - we are preparing for launch in 2022. But national projects, such as the US and Chinese Martian missions and even the Emirati spacecraft that flew from Japan, were much less vulnerable, because they were not associated with complex international cooperation. I am a supporter of self-reliance. In this case, you yourself answer with your head and your own resources. I see that we have returned to the level where we can independently implement interplanetary programs. There are no longer such problems in rocket and space technology as two years ago. We were fully prepared to launch the lander to Mars. If we had prepared the mission ourselves, I have no doubt that we would have flown. We need to understand and respect the problems of partners.
The third scientific project is the protection of the Earth from the asteroid-cometary hazard. One of the tasks is to track dangerous celestial bodies. There is a task - to learn how to land an apparatus on an asteroid, and not a simple spacecraft, but to land a spacecraft. The tricky part is how to grab onto an asteroid. Nevertheless, this task is clear to our engineers, and enterprises are beginning to carry out such work on an initiative basis. We know how to implement it. It is quite possible to create such a technology by 2030.
The fourth project is the launch of the Spectrum-UV space telescope to look at the starry sky in the ultraviolet spectrum. Thus, we will get the first place in the world in terms of viewing the Universe in different wavelengths. The Spektr-R telescope has long been out of order, and the colossal amount of information transmitted by it to Earth has not yet been fully processed by our scientists. Now "Spectr-RG" provides information, as they say, for several Nobel Prizes. With the launch of Spectra-UV, we will carry out a complete survey of the starry sky, gain an understanding of the distance to the stars, which is necessary for the orientation of spacecraft and ships using star sensors when flying in deep space. I'm not talking about the very fact of exploring the Universe.
It is also worth mentioning the Spektr-M space telescope with a giant folding antenna. He must carry out research in the millimeter range. We are also ready to start working on it, but there is no necessary funding.
That is, if we talk about scientific space, we have the opportunity to maintain leadership positions in this area, but funding is needed.
DS - Tell us about the manned lunar program, what does it involve?
DR - We have several scenarios. If we talk about a certain starting minimum, then we are talking about the creation of a super-heavy rocket, which should launch the Oryol spacecraft to the Moon, about the spacecraft itself and the necessary ground infrastructure. But in order to land on the moon, you also need a lunar takeoff and landing module. It has not yet been created. Now we are in dispute with the Ministry of Finance whether to include the development of a lander in the program or not. I have suspicions that if it is not included in the program now, then it will not exist at all. In this case, we will not be able to land on the moon. Of course, we will defend the lunar lander project, otherwise our lunar program cannot be considered complete. The last word is for the president.
International cooperation will help reduce costs. We need to come to an understanding with our partners, with the same Chinese colleagues with whom we have very good relations, that it is necessary to build on the Moon, what scientific equipment is necessary to have on its surface. We hope to begin consultations with our Chinese colleagues in the fall. I am going to either fly to China myself, or my Chinese colleague, the head of the Chinese National Space Administration, will come to Russia. We are ready to determine the contours and tasks of the lunar scientific base, and it pulls behind a huge amount of technologies to be mastered and implemented.
DS - Quite often you can hear the opinion that the collapse of the USSR was facilitated by the high cost of the Energia-Buran project. You can argue with that. But won't the lunar program become the cause of economic problems for Russia? It's still an expensive project. The United States at one time abandoned the lunar program, because even their budget could not afford such costs.
DR - The Russian contribution to the lunar project will be reasonable and not undermine the economy. In order to further reduce the financial burden, we are saying that the program should still be international. The American projects of landing on the moon Artemis and the creation of a lunar station Gateway are clearly American programs, where other participants play a secondary role. It is very strange. This is reminiscent of NATO, where American troops in Europe are fed at the expense of European countries. This is not at all what is laid down in the format of international cooperation on the International Space Station. Now the Artemis and Gateway programs are not international at all, which, of course, we cannot accept. In this regard, our negotiations with China are aimed at creating an equal program with the ability to connect other partners. We talked with China, that the USA, if it wishes, can enter our program as an equal partner. Here we need to talk about the Russian-Chinese project not as a get-together, but as a return to the practice of full-fledged cooperation in space.
As for the Energia-Buran program, it ended not because the country could not finance this project. The problem was different. It turned out that after the automatic flight of the Buran, no one could figure out how to use this machine further. The problem here was the lack of long-term system planning and strategic vision under Gorbachev's rule. There was no understanding of the second step, the third step. But what we are offering today is a completely different approach. The very engineering configuration of a super-heavy rocket consists of modular structures: the first and second stages are a bundle of modules of several Soyuz-5 missiles, the central unit is a Soyuz-6 missile. We have offered an option that will not cost that colossal money, but will cost the country incomparably cheaper than "
Of course, there are other options for delivering everything you need to the moon. For example, launching cargo into orbit with cheaper rockets, the same " Angara ". Three or four launches of "Angara", and assembly in low orbit of a flight complex from several upper stages and a spacecraft. We will definitely find options that will make it significantly cheaper to organize programs for exploring the Moon and Mars. I don't think the lunar program will undermine the country's economy. This is speculation, nothing more.
Every time I come to Baikonur, from the headquarters window I see three launch complexes for a super-heavy rocket - cyclopean structures. They were used only six times to launch the N-1 and Energia missiles. This is a lesson in how not to behave. We will not be so. We will make a truly reusable system that the country needs. A super-heavy rocket is needed not only for flights to the moon, it is necessary for launching large-sized heavy space structures into near space. It will be able to launch more than 20 tons of payload into deep space, and from 100 to 140 tons into near space. What, nobody needs it? Doesn't our economy need? There will certainly be a need for such a powerful space tug. With the creation of such a rocket in 2028, Russia will have an entire line of carriers from ultra-light to super-heavy classes. And all this will be able to take off from the national territory, regardless of any international conjuncture. In 2023 we plan to launch the Soyuz-5 rocket, in 2025 - Soyuz-6 from the same launch complex, be it Sea Launch or Baiterek. By this time, the tests of the Angara in the current version will be completed, and we will proceed to the completion of the tests of the Angara in a more advanced class, capable of launching a 27-ton cargo into low-earth orbit. Work has already begun on the creation of a hydrogen "Angara", which we plan to create in 2025. It will be possible to launch 37 tons into low orbit. That is, from 2023 to 2028 we will consistently commission new missiles. This five-year period will be decisive for our industry.
DS - If funding has already been provided for Soyuz-5 and the Angara family, how will Soyuz-6 and Soyuz-LNG using methane be financed? Where will you get the money for these missiles?
DR - The Soyuz-2 rocket currently in operation is an excellent rocket that has proven itself, but nevertheless how long will it fly? We are making a methane-fueled rocket to replace the Soyuz-2. It will initially be created as a reusable rocket and space complex. Not semi-reusable like SpaceX, but reusable. Let me explain what this means. The number of use of the first stage will be no less than 100 flights with three starts of the main engine in each - on the rise, when braking in the upper atmosphere and on a soft landing. It will be a 21st century rocket. We are, of course, spying on what our American colleagues are doing, but our engineers are trying to "cut the corner" - not to repeat what the SpaceX colleagues are doing, but to surpass them. We expect that financing the initial stages of the development of the Soyuz-LNG rocket will be conducted from extrabudgetary sources. In fact, this project opens the door to the use of liquefied natural gas in the rocket and space industry.
As for Soyuz-6, we will look for money for the missile from our reserves. You won't need much. The rocket body will be the same as that of the Soyuz-5 rocket, the RD-180 engine is mass-produced in our country, it only needs to be slightly modernized, the launch complex is suitable for Soyuz-5. Moreover, we are de facto creating Soyuz-6 as the central block of a super-heavy rocket. In this regard, I proposed to do so that all elements of a super-heavy rocket could be transformed into independent missiles with a "light motion of an engineering hand". Since the second stage of the Soyuz-6 rocket is the third stage of the Soyuz-2 rocket, we immediately receive technical redundancy in the form of the Soyuz-6 rocket in case the Soyuz-2 launches are suspended.
The transition to a new family of launch vehicles has been rationally calculated. There is only one intersection - in the class of ultralight and light carriers due to conversion missiles taken off alert, but they are almost free, it’s a sin not to launch. This is called start-up disposal. Do not cut them, do not blow them up? Using conversion rockets, we are able to offer the market a unique ultra-competitive launch price.
DS - Russia is creating two lines of missiles - "Soyuz" and "Angara", but at the same time it is known about the American sanctions, which will begin to operate against Russian carriers from 2023. How do we work on the international market in these conditions? Why do we need so many missiles, given that they will have a certain ceiling on orders on the commercial market?
DR - We have carefully studied the decisions of the United States on sanctions against our missiles, although not all countries that cooperate with Roscosmos are so dependent on the United States, there are also states that generally do not see America at close range. Honestly, we are not flattering ourselves, we have marketers who research the market, show the number of launches where we can fight and win, despite the sanctions. But you need to understand that the commercial launch market does not provide the funding that you need to focus on. We focus on the satisfaction of launch services domestically. The orbital group that we have does not suit us quantitatively. It needs to be increased. The deployment of the multifunctional group "Sphere" will help us in this. The program will give domestic enterprises a large order for the serial production of satellites. We know how to create individual or small-scale devices, and here we will talk about tens and hundreds of satellites for various purposes. We will manufacture them as Starlink and OneWeb.
DS - Recently the American ship Crew Dragon made a successful landing, completing the first test manned flight. What are your impressions of this flight? How will it affect our program?
DR - The fact that Crew Dragon appeared, and that it passed the test, if we discard all the propaganda American husk, that they are leaders in the world ... Why are they leaders in the world at all? They were not on the horizon for 10 years, but now they fly like we did. Let them now fly as fast as we fly. I don't think Crew Dragon is capable of flying three hours before the ISS.
We all know about this ship, we know its limitations and shortcomings, which manifested themselves during its landing and removal of the crew. He has a fairly rough fit. It is not intended to land on land, which is why our American colleagues chose to land on water, as they landed 45 years ago. Landing on water is not comme il faut. In this case, the landing depends on the state of the ocean - its waves, wind, and the capabilities of the rescue ships. For our new ship "Eagle" we also consider landing on water as an option, but this is more of an emergency landing, and the regular landing will be on land. We are making a spaceship of a completely different class - much more complex and functional, so that it can fly into deep space. The analogue of our ship is the American Orion, but not SpaceX's Crew Dragon or Boeing's Starliner. They are analogues of the "Union" more spacious, comfortable. This is a step forward, but do we need to create such a ship? Of course not. We don't need such a ship.
If we do replace the Soyuz MS for servicing orbital stations, because the operation of the Eagle will be expensive for these purposes, we need to make a reusable spacecraft of a completely different configuration - something like the Buran with the ability to land on takeoff and landing stripes. I set this task to our engineers. The Energia Corporation and other teams will now offer such options for space technology. "Soyuz MS", of course, will still serve. It is constantly being upgraded. But endless modernization is destructive for the development of space technology. The light bulb did not come from the modernization of the candles. but do we need to create such a ship? Of course not. We don't need such a ship.
The next step will be the creation of a new reusable spacecraft for the development and operation of low orbits. And for deep space - the ship "Eagle". Work on it is actively going on, unlike in previous years, I see it. I am glad that we have managed to get off the ground with fundamental problems - the multifunctional laboratory module "Science" is being prepared for launch, and flight tests of the "Angara" are being prepared to resume. All long-term construction projects are coming to an end. The main thing is that we are not "shot down on takeoff" through budgetary restrictions, this is what I am most afraid of.
Hmm.. Long term plans seem to involve retiring the Soyuz transport with a reincarnation of the Clipper concept? Excellent idea, and infinitely better than short-sighted US developments with ballistic capsules to service LEO (and thereby are only re-creating old retired capabilities rather than looking forward). Well... Sierra Nevadas BOR-4 copy called DreamChaser is in the right direction but doesn't have a large enough PAX.
I like this plan. It's long term, goal-oriented, practical, reinforces Russian domestic space capabilities, guarantees access to space, and won't break the bank. I don't however expect the Russophobes and Rogozin-haters to understand, cuz that's what happens when low-brows from the far ends of the bell-curve get to set the tone of popular discourse...