Roskosmos to coordinate new principles of launch insurance

MOSCOW, August 11 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) in the near future will coordinate a new regulation on the order of insuring space risks, the agency head Vladimir Popovkin said.

“Currently, the Federal Space Agency on its own initiative is drafting its own regulation on the procedure of the insurance of launches of spacecraft,” Popovkin noted in an interview published by the Kommersant newspaper on Thursday. According to him, during August it will be coordinated within Roskosmos, which intends to give him a temporary status and put into operation. Some time later, the document will be approved at the federal level.

The Russian Federal Space Agency chief explained that the main idea of the new principles of insurance is that the cost of insurance should be part of the cost of the spacecraft. “This is a worldwide practice,” Popovkin said. According to him, full insurance must, first and foremost, be applied to devices of mass production, in particular, to the GLONASS satellites. Had the GLONASS satellites lost last December been insured for their full value, then it would be possible to receive the sum insured and during some time make up for the loss, believes the Roskosmos head.

According to Popovkin, the agency will carefully choose insurance companies. “The companies will be selected based on a retrospective of their work on the market and the offered insurance rates,” he said. “It is planned to create a certain pool of insurance companies, of which it will be possible to choose the most suitable one for the risk insurance.”

The head of the Russian Federal Space Agency also stressed that it is planned to place all information about insurance in the public domain.

The Russian Federal Space Agency, commonly called Roskosmos and abbreviated as FKA and RKA, is the government agency responsible for the Russian space science programme and general aerospace research. It was previously the Russian Aviation and Space Agency. Headquarters of Roskosmos are located in Moscow. Main Mission Control space flight operations centre is located in a nearby city of Korolev. Cosmonauts Training Centre (GCTC) is in Star City. Launch facilities used are Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (with most launches taking place there, both manned and unmanned) and Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia used primarily for unmanned flights of military designations.

On 29 April 2011, Perminov was replaced with Vladimir Popovkin as the director of Roskosmos. The 65-year old Perminov was over the legal limit for state officials, and had received some criticism after a failed GLONASS launch in December 2010. Popovkin is a former commander of the Russian Space Forces and First Deputy Defence Minister of Russia.

The federal space budget for the year 2009 was left unchanged despite the global economic crisis, standing at about 82 billion roubles ($2.4 billion). In 2011, the government is planning to spend 115 billion roubles ($3.8 bln) in the national space programmes. Current priorities of the Russian space programme include the new Angara rocket family and development of new communications, navigation and remote Earth sensing spacecraft. The GLONASS global navigation satellite system has for many years been one of the top priorities and has been given its own budget line in the federal space budget. In 2007, GLONASS received 9.9 billion roubles ($360 million), and under the terms of a directive signed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2008, an additional $2.6 billion will be allocated for its development.

Due to International Space Station involvements, up to 50 percent of Russia’s space budget is spent on the manned space programme. Some observers have pointed out that this has a detrimental effect on other aspects of space exploration, and that the other space powers spend much lesser proportions of their overall budgets on maintaining human presence in orbit. Despite the considerably improved budget, attention of legislative and execute authorities, positive media coverage and broad support among the population, the Russian space programme continues to face several problems. Wages in the space industry are low; the average age of employees is high (46 years in 2007), and much of the equipment is obsolete. On the positive side, many companies in the sector have been able to profit from contracts and partnerships with foreign companies; several new systems such as new rocket upper stages have been developed in recent years; investments have been made to production lines, and companies have started to pay more attention to educating a new generation of engineers and technicians.


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