Cuts in space budget will force Russia to abandon many projects

Oil price crisis forces Russia to cut back space programme

Russia will cut spending on its space programme by 30 per cent in the next ten years due the continuing oil price crises and the struggling rouble.

The budget cut, presented by Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov, will affect several of Russia’s planned space projects. While a manned mission to the Moon, originally planned for 2030 might take place in 2035, the development of a reusable rocket will be abandoned.

For the period between 2016 and 2025, Roscosmos will receive only 1.4 trillion roubles (£12.3bn), instead of the originally expected 2 trillion.

The construction of a new cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East will be scaled down. The facility will now only have one launch pad instead of the originally planned two.

The space budget is due to be signed off by the government in March but it is possible it could be reduced even further.

Russia’s economy, heavily dependent on oil production, has been struggling due to the ongoing oil price crisis and the country has been forced to scale back spending across a range of sectors. The crisis has been made worse due to the weakening rouble and Western sanctions over the situation in Ukraine.

Although Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has expressed on several occasions his ambition of reviving Russia’s once pioneering space programme, the sector can’t get out of a major crisis, which has seen multiple critical launch failures resulting in losses of satellites.

The reusable rocket concept, Roscosmos spokesperson suggested, could be put back on the table after 2025. It is likely however, that by then, Russia will be considerably behind other space powers. US company SpaceX is successfully exploring the concept and has performed a successful first stage landing in late December last year.

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