Zheleznogorsk, Russia: The Siberian city Zheleznogorsk, the hub of Russian space and nuclear prowess, fell on hard times in the 1990s. Now, worldwide surge in satellite business and development of Glonass navigation satellite system infused a new life and vitality into this once-secret city, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported
In the 1990s, the city’s life was majorly revolving around JSC Information Satellite Systems (ISS) – Reshetnev Company. But, the centralised projects were shut down. It lost the lion’s share of its financing. However, it continued quietly building satellites for military purposes and improved the Uragan navigation system, the forerunner of the modern Glonass. But there was a sharp brake on development.
Today, the Russian government provides the ISS two-thirds of the 20 billion roubles that make up ISS’s annual turnover, with the rest coming from commercial orders.
According to the report, it was only in 2008 that the ISS started getting international orders. First, the Israeli operator Space-Communication Ltd ordered the AMOS-5 satellite, then in 2009 the Indonesian company PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk bought the Telcom-3 telecommunications system, and later contracts were signed with Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
“Every year we take part in four or five tenders, of which we win one. One international contract per year is enough for us. That’s all we can handle at the moment,” said Vladimir Khalimanovich, Director at the ISS. Today about 40 satellites are in production at the same time, including secret military systems, Glonass satellites, and telecommunications and geodesy satellites for Russian operators –the Russian Satellite Communications Company, the federal state unitary enterprise and Gazprom Space Systems.
The sharp increase in orders restored the organisation’s staff numbers to their previous level. In 2005 there were 5,000 people working at the ISS, but now there are 8,500.