Russian President and practical ruler of Russia, Vladimir Putin signed an order that disbanded troubled Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency. The space agency is now disbanded partly due to operating issues and rockets going up in flames, but also due to the creeping, multi-billion dollar corruption affair that endangered the success of space going ventures. The decree is a simple work of a pen – disbanding a couple of billions of worth of space going things – but it is something that needed to be done.
The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (Russian: Государственная корпорация по космической деятельности “Роскосмос”) formerly The Russian Federal Space Agency (Russian:Федеральное космическое агентство России Federal’noye kosmicheskoye agentstvo Rossii) is the governmental body which responsible for the Russian space science program and general aerospaceresearch.
The Corporation is established on basis of the abolished Federal Space Agency from December 28, 2015. Roscosmos (Роскосмос Russpace) was previously the Russian Aviation and Space Agency(Russian: Российское авиационно-космическое агентство Rossiyskoe aviatsionno-kosmicheskoe agentstvo, commonly known as “Rosaviakosmos“).
On the other hand, the company will be formed once again on 1st of January, 2016 – albeit as a governmental, state owned enterprise. Whether this will combat gnarling corruption, remains to be seen. For the most part, Russia is one of the most heavily impacted nations as far as corrupted state officials are in play.
This is important as the space going ventures of several nations – including United States of America – rely heavily on Russia. In mid-2015, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told Congress the going rate to send six US astronauts on Soyuz rockets through 2017 would be $490 million. If you are good with math, you’ll quickly find out that that works out to a cool $82 million per seat. This figure is up from roughly $70 million the year before. Going to space – on a commercial or state funded value – clearly is a lucrative enterprise.
With the advent of commercial success stories such as SpaceX and Boeing, with their new man carrying capsules (Dragon and Starliner) the message is clear; Russia wants to stay one of the top dogs in the space business. Finishing of their new, 345 square kilometer / 133 square mile spaceport (rus. cosmodrome) between China and Russia will remove Kazakhstan and their mega complex Baikonour Cosmodrome, adding value to their space rocket programs. Ultimately, battling corruption in the end, will make or break the future of this legendary space agency.
For a good overview of what Roscosmos used to be, we would advise you to take a look at this corporate video from the 2014 Farnborough Air Show.