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Meeting on long-term priorities of space exploration

April 12, 2021, Engels, Saratov Region

On Cosmonautics Day, Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, on the long-term priorities of space exploration in the Russian Federation.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, deputy prime ministers Yury Borisov and Marat Khusnullin, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Presidential Aide and Head of the Presidential Control Directorate Dmitry Shalkov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Maksut Shadayev, pilot-cosmonaut of the USSR and State Duma Deputy Valentina Tereshkova, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeyev, and General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin.

The meeting participants discussed, in particular, a pay increase for cosmonauts.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

To begin with, I would like to congratulate the veterans and employees of the rocket and space industry on their holiday – Cosmonautics Day and on the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight to space by our compatriot Yury Gagarin.

At that time – on April 12, 1961 – this grandiose event certainly changed the world. It ushered in a new space age, an era of space exploration. We will always take pride in the fact that it was our country that paved the way to the Universe and, as I have already said, that our compatriot became a trailblazer on this great road.

These days, festivities in honour of this anniversary are taking place all over the country and abroad. Today, we took part in the opening ceremony of the Park of Space Conquerors in the Saratov Region. A new complex of the Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics is opening in Kaluga. Now it is one of the world’s largest museums devoted to space exploration. Anniversary festivities are also taking place in Yury Gagarin’s homeland – the Smolensk Region, Samara, Orenburg and, naturally, in the leading space centres: the Zvezdny Gorodok (Star City), Baikonur and our new Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Our duty is not just to cherish the memory of the generation of space conquerors and to respect the courage of the cosmonauts who explored the unknown despite the risks, those who created unique space systems and technology and prepared crews for work in the orbit. Our duty is not just to remember those who created and consolidated our space potential. Our duty also lies in striving today to match the level of the space trailblazers in our current work in the rocket and space industry.

Over 50,000 people under 35 years old work in Russia’s rocket and space industry. We must be even more active in involving young personnel, opening great opportunities for them to develop their careers, enhancing their education level and qualifications, and helping them upgrade their living standards. I am sure that the industry will always have excellent workers pursuing the cause of Yury Gagarin, Sergei Korolev and many other outstanding cosmonauts, designers and engineers that redound with their successes to the glory of domestic cosmonautics.

In the new, 21st century, Russia must maintain its status as a leading nuclear and space power because the space industry is directly linked with defence and I would like to remind you of this. Today, we will discuss issues related to long-term priorities of space exploration and will analyse what we must do to strengthen our positions in this truly strategic area.

I would like to note that Russia has successfully conducted over 50 launches of its carrier rockets in the past two and a half years. Just the other day, on April 9, a Soyuz MS-18 named after Yury Gagarin took off from Baikonur with an international crew. We will continue developing international programmes and are willing to cooperate with our partners in space.

At the same time, we must consistently move forward and take on new tasks of fundamental research – both in the practical exploration of extra-terrestrial space and, as I have already said, in fundamental research. We must use our advantages for building up our defence capability, which I have also mentioned, and accelerating our scientific, technological and economic national development.

As you know, in January of the past year we endorsed the Basic Principles of State Policy on Space Activities through to 2030 and beyond. They are our guide in implementing ambitious tasks of space exploration in the next few years and the decades to come.

Colleagues, here is what I would like to stress.

If we want to achieve our ambitious goals, we need an integrated and long-term approach that will fully take into account our priorities in outer space exploration and be backed by corresponding resources. To do so, the Government needs to prepare and approve a document with specific measures to achieve the priorities outlined in the Basic Principles of State Policy on Space Activities.

In this regard, I would like to note, first, that we must re-visit and review all major projects and identify the crucial phases of their implementation. Second, we must have a clear idea of our goals and what we want to achieve at each phase. Third, and it goes without saying, these projects must be tied in to funding sources, broken down by year.

To reiterate, with the specifics of outer space exploration in mind, this document should be all-encompassing and, importantly, of a long-term nature, and reflect our vision of the space industry’s prospects for at least the next 10 years. In doing so, we should focus on the practical use of the results of space activities for the needs of the economy and social sphere, primarily telecommunications, transport, the manufacturing industry, education and healthcare.

Also, the space industry is of particular importance for the digital transformation of our life. I am talking about improving the quality of communications and satellite navigation, and expanding meteorological observations and environmental monitoring capabilities, including remote control of major infrastructure facilities that are under construction, and road safety.

I realise that, given the dynamically changing external and internal circumstances and external and internal conditions, and certain priorities, we will, perhaps, need to clarify and adjust the timeline for achieving our space exploration goals. If the participants of this meeting have any suggestions in this regard, let us know about them and we will discuss them today.

Let's move on to discussing the above questions.


Vladimir Putin: Valentina Tereshkova, the first female cosmonaut whom we know well and love, is taking part in our meeting.

Today is a holiday – Cosmonautics Day and the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight. Ms Tereshkova, would you like to say a few words?

Valentina Tereshkova: On this important date, when 60 years ago our compatriot Yury Gagarin opened a space page in the history of humanity, I would like to speak about his successors, Russian cosmonauts. It is common knowledge that this profession is always very risky. This is why it is very important to provide a decent lifestyle for the cosmonauts and their family members. I would like to hear in this context what will be done in this regard.

Vladimir Putin: Ms Tereshkova, I have discussed this issue with my colleagues. Indeed, this seems to be a current issue but it is still no less important for those who work in this industry. Up to this day, they have not just done all they can to achieve the desired common result but even put their health and lives at risk. Therefore, I suggest a 50 percent increase in the salaries of those who have already been to space and are important members of the cosmonauts’ team. The salaries of those who have not yet been to space but are getting ready for this will go up by 70 percent. These increases will also be reflected in premium payments and so I think that in all, our cosmonauts will receive handsome remuneration.

Valentina Tereshkova: Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: For our part, we, all the participants in the meeting, are wishing you a happy holiday.

Valentina Tereshkova: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, if you do not have anything else to add, let us wrap it up. I would like you to prepare corresponding proposals that would underlie the instructions on the outcomes of today’s meeting.

April 12, 2021, Engels, Saratov Region