Russian Space Minister: Program Will “Never Catch Up” to SpaceX Innovation

Soyuzrseven

 

Russia still leads the world in total number of space missions launched, but for how long?  Here is an unusually blunt assessment of the state of that nation’s space program by the always loquacious Dmitry Rogozin.

From the Moscow Times:

“Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has been left red-faced after telling reporters that “Russia will never catch up to the United States in the space race,” the Interfax news agency reported.

“Our space industry has fallen behind the Americans ninefold. All of our ambitious projects require us to up productivity 150 percent – and even if we manage that, we will still never catch up with them,” Rogozin originally said to Interfax Friday.

 “We will be following the news about NASA and [Elon] Musk and licking our lips while trying to explain ourselves why we don’t need what they are doing,” Rogozin said, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Rogozin took to Facebook later in the day to say that his quotes had been taken out of context.

In the field of space-rocket engine construction Russia are much more competitive than the US both in terms of quality and prices, he said.

“I said that, considering our ambitious plans of to increase labor productivity in the space industry, we will never catch up with the Americans in that regard,” the deputy prime minister said.

“But this absolutely does not mean that we are behind them [the United States] in every other aspect of space exploration.”

Comment:

Quite an admission from the same man who threatened that NASA could be forced to use a trampoline to reach ISS if Russia withdrew its launch services in anger over US sanctions regarding Crimea and Ukraine.

Rogozin’s frustration, while aimed squarely at his own faltering space industrial base, might be equally applied to a number of other space powers who, while having mastered the basics of reaching orbit, and even other planets, are completely unprepared, and more importantly, incapable, of responding to the iterative improvement process being driven by SpaceX. Taxpayers in the European Union have every reason to be just as appalled as ministers in Russia, as their governments prepare to plow billions into the development of an Ariane 6 rocket which will be obsolete before it ever reaches the launchpad.

Most amazing of all though, is the fact that the U.S. Congress, rather than seizing a historic opportunity to set the nation whose interests they are supposed to represent on a path to commercial space dominance which would rival the British navy at its the height of its glory in the age of sail and steam, instead behaves no better than the entrenched interests which have fossilized the Russian space program.

 

Posted in: Russian Space

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8 Comments on "Russian Space Minister: Program Will “Never Catch Up” to SpaceX Innovation"

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  1. PK Sink says:

    “Most amazing of all though, is the fact that the U.S. Congress, rather than seizing a historic opportunity to set the nation whose interests they are supposed to represent on a path to commercial space dominance which would rival the British navy at its the height of its glory in the age of sail and steam, instead behaves no better than the entrenched interests which have fossilized the Russian space program.”

    Well said. It is beyond disgusting to see these guys try to stab SpaceX in the back, and sideline Blue Origin’s revolutionary new engines. Shame on them!

  2. Mike says:

    “Taxpayers in the European Union have every reason to be just as appalled as ministers in Russia, as their governments prepare to plow billions into the development of an Ariane 6 rocket which will be obsolete before it ever reaches the launchpad.”

    Arguably you could say the same of the US taxpayers, the SLS and Vulcan.

  3. nivmen says:

    this article is ridiculous SpaceX is just a company in America.
    and the Russian space agency is backed by an entire nation of Industry how come they can’t get to this level?
    the whole reason America was behind in the space race
    in the eighties and nineties with because
    all the spacecraft components were coming from different parts of the country
    and all of that really slow down the space industry
    Russian space private sector should increase its production by following the method SpaceX is using

    • Tom Billings says:

      “Russian space private sector should increase its production by following the method SpaceX is using”

      Well, Nivmen, that’s the problem. Since Putin decree’d that all Russian Space Companies would be reunited in a single government entity, there exists very little *private* sector space work in Russia. Russia’s space efforts are once again totally politicized.

  4. Joe Truncale says:

    On the penultimate eve of the launch of Orion two Decembers ago, I had the chance to eat at the same table as General Staffod, retired NASA astronaut, as well as some of the high level folks from our space industries. I was astounded that the clear consensus was that SpaceX folks were drinking “the Kool-ade.”
    When the Russians have such glowing comments about SpaceX, I feel pretty sure that most everyone in the know on space flight is ready for a sip… Bottom’s up!

  5. Tom Hanley says:

    Not very amazing. The american congress has screwed up everything they have touched. As the best of ideas begin, each Senator or Representative exercises the bill for what ever he can extract for his district. It isn’t purely for the benefit of his constituents directly, but for his continuation in a lucrative position of power and control indirectly. It’s a wonder we don’t have more rainy days for them to F@&% Up

  6. zincfinger says:

    Hurray! Finally someone with a realistic view on just how screwed every space vendor is except for Space X. And maybe Blue Origin…maybe.

  7. Art says:

    I bet the Russians now wish that they had sold Elon Musk a rocket launch back in 2002 instead of creating a competitor.

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