The Director General of the Russian Space Agency, Gen. Vladimir Popovkin, outlined the priorities for his nation's space program at the Global Space Exploration Conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday, focused on the establishment of the permanent base on the Moon. Agreeing with his fellow space agency heads from around the world, that "financial limitations are a given," he stressed that, therefore, agencies must prioritize their future goals. For Russia, that goal will be a manned return to the Moon. But "not replicating" the U.S. Apollo program or the Russian robotic lunar missions of the 1960s and 1970s; rather, the "establishment of permanent stations and bases." This stands in clear distinction to the current Obama policy of not setting a reasonable goal to go anywhere.
During a press conference after the heads-of-agencies session, EIR's Bill Jones asked Popovkin about the Russian program to deal with "the danger to the Earth from outer space," and specifically the SDE proposal. Popovkin replied that "we need to be prepared to withstand any threat that may exist, such as asteroids and comets." This requires a three-phase approach, he explained. First, there should be "monitoring systems to keep an eye on any object." Second, we must "be able to validate the threat, and decide how realistic it is." Then, "based on those two, work out a scenario to deal with the threat."
Later, during a discussion with an Aviation Week reporter and LPAC, Popovkin cautioned that he is "not 100% sure" of a "clear opinion on this issue," because "if handled seriously, like the SDI, the funding required would be overwhelming, and an astronomical cost." He stated that Russia and the U.S. already have systems, such as NORAD for North America, that are used to "detect false ballistic missile targets," which could be used for planetary defense. He described Russia's plan to put sensors on asteroid Apophis for this effort. LPAC conducted an on-camera interview with Popovkin following the discussion.