Dmitry Rogozin, current Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Defense and Space Industry, and Director General of Roscosmos – a Russian state space agency notorious for its involvement in some of the country’s most well-known corruption scandals1, had this to say on US Sanctions imposed against the Russian space industry in 2014:
Essentially, Americans want to push us out of the Space Launch Services Market. As for us, we will counter statements with statements, and actions with actions. Let’s do it this way:
If they wish to strike the economic potential of the Russian rocket-building, then let them send their astronauts to space with trampoline.
In this statement, Dmitry Rogozin mocked the lack of the American space flight program, and implied the US’ dependence on the Russian space industry2.
With the Space Shuttle retired since 2011, US astronauts rely on the Soviet-designed Soyuz spacecraft to reach the International Space Station due to economic reasons.
However, after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the US, the EU and Canada have imposed sanctions against individuals, Russian and Ukrainian state officials, Russian state corporations, and other legal entities that had been deemed directly or indirectly responsible for violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the subsequent abuse of Human Rights in the region.
This has complicated further cooperation with Roscosmos, and underscored the necessity of an alternative to outsourcing space launches to the Russian government, which culminated on May 30th, 2020 with the first manned test flight of Crew Dragon, a new multi-use spacecraft developed by the American corporation SpaceX.
“The trampoline is working,”Elon Musk at a press-conference after the successful launch of the Crew Dragon with NASA Director James Bridenstine
Unfortunately for Russian taxpayers, Vladimir Putin’s government has little to show for progress and innovation in the Space Industry for these past six years, with only noteworthy ‘achievements’ being state-provided salary for Mr. Rogozin of truly cosmic proportions – $460,000 (while median yearly salary in Russia is mere $5,844 according to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service as of April 20193), as well as luxury real estate and automobiles for his entire family4.
In 2006, Nikolay Sevastyanov (then head of the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia) had this to say on the future of the Russian space industry:
We’ll build a permanent base on the Moon by 2015, and after 2020 we may start mining the rare Helium-3 isotope there.
Mr. Sevastyanov had also mentioned plans for a perspective multi-use spacecraft class “Clipper”, which was expected to service this mission to the Moon in 20155.
With deep regret, Vatnik Today reports that these long-forgotten ambitious plans of the Russian authorities for 2015 are yet to be fulfilled as of May 2020, with little (if anything) to suggest any meaningful progress towards this goal.
‘No End in Sight’ to Fraud in Russia’s Space Agency, Top Investigator Says– The Moscow Times
Russian space sector plagued by astronomical corruption – Phys.org
Russia cracks down on spaceport mega-project mired in corruption – The Guardian
Russia corruption: Putin’s pet space project Vostochny tainted by massive theft – BBC
- Tweet by Rogozin’s verified Twitter account
- A big salary, luxury cars, and a new dacha—Russia’s space leader lives large – Ars Technica
- Russian Moon Base Expected Earlier than the American – Lenta.ru