Russia has been receiving tough competition in the global market for satellite launches by SpaceX. The failures of its Soyuz and Proton boosters a couple of years ago have not helped the Russian cause.

In public Russian officials did not acknowledged any threat from SpaceX,  but since early 2017 the talks have changed after SpaceX’s efforts to build reusable boosters to lower overall costs began showing fruit.

An interview posted on the site of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, its chief executive Igor Komarov acknowledged that SpaceX have come farther than what they had expected and now posed a “serious threat”.  Accordingly, Komarov outlined a strategy for how he believes Russia will compete with SpaceX over the next five years.

For the short-term Russian space agency will be working to reduce production cost and over the next 5 years or so they will  finalize development of the Soyuz 5 rocket, a medium-lift vehicle in the same lift class as the Falcon 9 rocket. They estimate that SpaceX with its push towards reusable rockets will only be able to reduce costs by 15-20 percent which is the same as the expendable Soyuz 5 will do.

However, there is flaw in the plan as SpaceX has been adamant on reduction of costs of flight-proven boosters and they claim a 30 percent price reduction. This number may also rise up to 50 percent considering the progress SpaceX has made since 2012. Even though there have been some incidents like the explosion of SpaceX Falcon 9, the company has since flown the booster about three dozen times, with three significant upgrades to increase performance and make the first stage recoverable.

In any situation will take a very big collapse from SpaceX in the coming years for the Russian space enterprise to stop worrying.

Publish date: July 6, 2017 5:22 pm| Modified date: July 6, 2017 5:22 pm

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