In a recent televised public forum that allows the Russian public to question Russian President Vladimir Putin (albeit that only certain questions are allowed to get through) he addressed issues such as the Russian economy, the rising cost of fuel, the alleged Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning, and the threat of the US missile defence programme.  Putin also went on to talk about what should happen next in the Russian space programme. In a hint that he accepts that Russian quality control should be improved he formally stated that Russia “should take many steps forward in the quality of satellites and equipment”.

Putin also made a promise to launch a 600 satellite communications constellation and, as Russia looked forward to Moon bases possibly with NASA, that Roscosmos would test a super-heavy lift launch vehicle (HLV) rocket equivalent to the US SLS rocket (dubbed by many as SLS-ski) by 2022.  Until recently, both of these ideas had been held back by funding cuts in the Russian space programme.

President of Russian, Vladimir Putin, appoints Dmitry Rogozin as head of Roscosmos. Courtesy: Roscosmos