Wired magazine’s latest article, “Russia’s Space Program Is in Big Trouble,” summarizes a sad trend since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With all of the nation’s attention on an unnecessary war, the space program, like many things nowadays in Russia, has taken a back seat.
Problems can be seen with the spacecraft – two Russian capsules at the International Space Station (ISS) sprung leaks – as well as ground control. Assets at Russia’s spaceport in Kazakhstan are being seized, while corruption and other problems are delaying a new spaceport within Russia’s borders.
Russia also lacks a partner for a new space station after the ISS, and its mission to the Moon with China look’s tenuous. Does the country have a plan for the future beyond militarizing space?
The article concludes with these words:
The Soviet Union may have put the first human into space—but now, 60 years later, Russia faces a near-future in which it is no longer able to do that.
No Pyrrhic victory in Ukraine will change this.
Extra: The Wall Street Journal also had a good article about the situation in Russia. The article, “Russia’s Economy is Starting to Come Undone,” includes an interview with Oleg Mansurov, who hoped to create the next SpaceX with his company SR Space. However, the situation in Ukraine has caused his investors to flee. As a result, he is staying afloat as an IT company for now. He notes:
We became more focused not on the development of a long-term product that would make some kind of qualitative leap but on simply becoming a classic business and generating revenue…We understood we just had to survive.