Official: No crisis in Russia's space work

Jan. 29, 2013 at 7:49 PM

MOSCOW, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Despite a recent string of failures, rumors of a crisis in the Russian space industry are "absolutely wrong," the head of Russia's space agency said.

"This is absolutely wrong," Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said at a scientific meeting in Moscow. "We still have the potential, the people who believe in space and ... rocket and space enterprises capable of breakthrough projects."

The country's space program has experienced some very public setbacks in recent years, most notably the failure of the Phobos-Grunt sample mission to the martian moon Phobos, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia's most ambitious planetary mission in decades got stuck in Earth's orbit after its engines failed to put it on course for the Red Planet in November 2011, and it crashed to Earth two months later.

Roscosmos "burned its fingers seriously" with the failure of the probe, Popovkin admitted.

"Probably, an outcome like this is logical," he said of the mission's failure. "One company should not be allowed to design one scientific spacecraft for such a long period, for 15 years."

Roscosmos and the Russian Academy of Sciences have established a working group to coordinate future science and space projects, he said.

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