Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedeev held a meeting yesterday with the leading people of the space industry to discuss the series of failures that have plagued the Russian space industry recently. Among those present were Vladimir Popovkin, the head of the Russian Space Agency, and vice-premier Dmitri Rogozin, the head of the Military and Industrial Commission, who had been tasked with pulling together the material for the meeting.
In his comments, Medvedev noted the seriousness of the failures for the Russian space industry. "Such failures cost us billions of roubles. What is particularly unpleasant is that we are also losing our reputation as a major, leading space power even though we are investing more and more funds in our space industry," Medvedev said. While he indicated that there would be some personnel changes as a result, he admitted that the problems were also a result of "systemic problems" and not merely "subjective" in nature.
"First, an obsolete production base. "Ninety percent of facilities have been in use for more than 20 years and must be replaced," Medvedev said. "Second," he went on, "we have weak bases that participate electronically, and this is a general problem for our industry, including the space industry. Furthermore, our rocket and space equipment is not fully provided with the necessary construction materials, and this is also a problem. And, third, we are short of qualified personnel. Our scientific and industrial workforce is aging. The space industry employs only a little more than 20% of people under the age of 30, and this is also a real problem."
At the meeting, Popovkin presented his proposals for needed changes. These will be reviewed by the Government, and decisions will be taken after the review in one month. But already now, some personnel changes are in the works.