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Space exploration connected to enhancing quality of life on Earth – Dmitry Loskutov, Glavkosmos

Dmitry Loskutov, Director General, Glavkosmos

Space exploration has always been concomitant with the goal of enhancing the quality of life on Earth and facilitating human development.

It is obvious that today any progress in space exploration or achievement of ambitious goals is hardly possible without international cooperation from both financial and technological point of view. Therefore, only by consolidating our efforts, we will be able to achieve goals no less ambitious than those that were confronted by the pioneers of cosmonautics.

The major task of Glavkosmos is to promote the achievements of the Russian space industry in the world market. We plan to expand the number of the countries we collaborate with in regions such as South-East Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
We have also entered into a cooperation that involves liaison between Russian space companies and the Emirates side in implementing the program on selection, training and space flight of the UAE’s first astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS).

Human spaceflight mission

Human spaceflights are the most important part of the Russian Space Program, the significance of which became even greater in 2011 when the US closed the Space Shuttle Program. At present, human flights to the ISS are supported exclusively by Russian Soyuz space vehicles.

As for the upcoming NASA missions, we recognize the progress of SpaceX and Boeing in development of manned space vehicles. Besides, China is rapidly working on its human spaceflight program as it is experienced in operating its own orbital station. India and other countries also have such plans for the coming years. We welcome such developments and healthy competition that encourage progress, just as any other peaceful activities in space for the benefit of humanity.

By the way, we have had very productive preparatory negotiations in Moscow recently between the ISRO delegation and the top management of Roscosmos, Glavkosmos, and NPO Energomash — manufacturer of the best rocket engines in the world. We hope that Russian-Indian cooperation in a number of areas will turn into a practical plane.
Further, the expected expansion of the Russian segment at the ISS (a Multipurpose Laboratory Module will be added in 2020 and a docking and power modules in 2022) will provide more free space inside to attract tourists and will allow to enlarge the areas and quantity of experiments held on the space station.

Creation of a new human spaceship, Federation, is underway. The ship is expected to be ready by the test campaign of the new Soyuz-5 launcher, the flight tests of which are scheduled for 2022.

Innovating to stay ahead

Despite the emerging reusable rockets and small launchers, the market still demands a safe and constant access to space.

Soyuz-2 launcher is one of the most reliable vehicles in the world. The Fregat upper stage enables complicated cluster missions with payload delivering to up to three different orbits within one launch. It gives the customers a competitive advantage in the launch price compared to super-light launchers due to the economy-of-scale effect: the average cost of orbiting one satellite in a cluster is significantly lower than the cost of a dedicated launch of the same. With its high performance, Soyuz is capable to deploy large constellations of small satellites within one launch.

Along with that, we continue efforts in Soyuz-2 improvements to make the launches more cost-efficient.

Future of space exploration

In the next 20 years there will appear some national stations on the lunar surface and they will be serviced mainly by robots. There will be national, and probably private, habitable stations in the lunar orbit, and next on Mars. The development trends will be focused on exploration of asteroids for mining natural resources, private space cargo transportation, space tourism, and space medicine.