Rogozin: I Would Not Want to Monetise everything

Astronauts will control the implementation of the State Order, young scientists will fly to the International Space Station (ISS), and the European Union will participate in the lunar project of China and Russia. Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the State Corporation ROSCOSMOS, said this at a press conference on the opening day of the IAF Global Space Exploration Conference – GLEX 2021.

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The big news for the state procurement system was the creation of a special expertise department within ROSCOSMOS' scientific and technical council, whose employees will all be members of the cosmonaut squad.

"They will become part of a single state-order system, a type of military acceptance. We will assign cosmonauts to specific enterprises at their will: RSC Energia, RAS Institute of Biomedical Problems, RSC Progress, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre. and others. All these organisations will accept our representatives, who will exercise control functions. And the commander of the squad will become the head of the department and the general director for the pilot programme," announced Dmitry Rogozin.

According to the head of the ROSCOSMOS State Corporation, no one better than real flying cosmonauts will tell engineers what ergonomics are required in space and how piloting equipment should work.

Important questions raised at GLEX-2021 concerned the future of the ISS. In April, Russia announced its withdrawal from the project. Now Rogozin spoke about the progress of talks with the head of NASA:

"The conversation with Senator [Bill] Nelson was good. We are continuing the dialogue on the ISS. Nelson is one of those senators who are in favour of prolonging the operation of the station until 2030. But to make a decision, we need to assess the technical condition of the entire station and its individual modules with the Americans. We are ready for this work.”

So far, the possibility of using the ISS has only increased: the addition of the Nauka module makes it possible to place up to four people in the Russian segment of the station. ROSCOSMOS intends to use the new space "to expand the practice of participation of non-professional cosmonauts in the flights". This not just regarding commercial flights.

"I wouldn't want to monetise everything. It is not very fair on a programme as important as the International Space Station. We will not go overboard with space tourists, even if there are a lot of applications. We will focus at least half of our capabilities on scientific experiments aboard the ISS with the participation of their developers," explained the head of ROSCOSMOS.

The crew could consist of a professional astronaut commander and several young scientists. The new Vyzov (Russian for 'Challange') project makes it possible to train specialists for a space flight in four months. Rogozin said he hoped that the opportunity to conduct research in orbit "will spur Russian science's interest in the International Space Station".

On the eve of the opening day of the conference in St. Petersburg, NASA Director Bill Nelson called for close monitoring of the joint plans of Moscow and Beijing to explore the Moon. Dmitry Rogozin called the conversation about the role of Russia's competition with the United States and China in space unethical.

"The programme is open to all participants. We and our Chinese colleagues are negotiating with many. The largest partner is the European Space Agency," the ROSCOSMOS director commented on plans to jointly build a lunar station.

The presence of Russian cosmonauts at Chinese orbital stations is also expected. France may become another participant in this project: "We and our French colleagues are discussing the possibility of transforming the Soyuz-2 launching complex in Guiana so that it can be used for a manned program, including the launching of spacecraft towards a Chinese station".

A cross-cutting theme of GLEX-2021 was combating space debris. Rogozin suggested introducing legal liability for those who leave debris in orbit:

"At escape velocity, debris pierces the hull of any aircraft. And no protection will help here. As chairman of the state commission for flight tests of manned space complexes, every time I ask Mission Control Moscow (TsUP): "Nothing will fly over us the moment the spacecraft begins to separate from the ISS? When we send people into space, do we have full understanding that we will not collide with anyone or anything?"

The head of Roscosmos explained that detecting unexpected objects is not difficult: "We will not disclose the exact characteristics: we are talking about a dual-purpose system, but we can see a tennis ball thrown at an altitude of 30 thousand kilometres. But it should be the task of the owners to bring the spacecraft out of orbit in time.

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s spaceflight,  the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and ROSCOSMOS are organizing the Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) 2021 taking place in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation from 14 – 18 June 2021.

The New Defence Order. Strategy journal is an official media partner of the Global Space Exploration Conference 2021.

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