Patch of the Russian Space Agency, 1991-2004
The Soviet space program did not have central executive agencies. Instead, its organizational architecture was multi-centered; it was the design bureaus and the council of designers that had the most say, not the political leadership. The creation of a central agency after the separation of Russia from the Soviet Union was therefore a new development. The Russian Space Agency was formed on February 25, 1992, by a decree of President Yeltsin. Yuri Koptev, who had previously worked with designing Mars landers at NPO Lavochkin, became the agency's first director.
In the early years, the agency suffered from lack of authority as the powerful design bureaus fought to protect their own spheres of operation and to survive. For example, the decision to keep Mir in operation beyond 1999 was not taken by the agency; instead, it was made by the private shareholder board of the Energia design bureau. Another example is that the decision to develop the new Angara rocket was rather a function of Khrunichev's ability to attract resources than a conscious long-term decision by the agency.
The 1990s saw serious financial problems because of decreased cash flow, which encouraged Roscosmos to improvise and seek other ways to keep space programs running. This resulted in Roscosmos' leading role in commercial satellite launches and space tourism. While scientific missions, such as interplanetary probes or astronomy missions during these years played a very small role, although Roscosmos has connections with Russian aerospace forces, its budget is not part of the defense budget of the country, Roscosmos managed to operate the space station Mir well past its planned lifespan, contribute to the International Space Station, and continue to fly additional Soyuz and Progress missions.
In March 2004, director Yuri Koptev was replaced by Anatoly Perminov, who had previously served as the first commander of the Space Forces.
Improved situation in 2005–2006
The Russian economy boomed throughout 2005 from high prices for exports, such as oil and gas, the outlook for future funding in 2006 appeared more favorable. This resulted in the Russian Duma approving a budget of 305 billion rubles (about 11 billion USD) for the Space Agency from 2006 January to 2015, with overall space expenditures in Russia total about 425 billion rubles for the same time period. The budget for 2006 was as high as 25 billion rubles (about 900 million USD), which is a 33% increase from the 2005 budget. Under the current 10-year budget approved, the budget of the Space Agency shall increase 5–10% per year, providing the space agency with a constant influx of money. In addition to the budget, Roscosmos plans to have over 130 billion rubles flowing into its budget by other means, such as industry investments and commercial space launches. It is around the time US-based The Planetary Society entered a partnership with Roscosmos.
- New science missions: Koronas Foton (launched in January 2009), Spektr R (RadioAstron, launched in July 2011),
Intergelizond (2011), Spektr RG (Roentgen Gamma, 2015), Spektr UV (Ultra Violet, 2016),
Spektr M (2018),
Celsta (2018) and
- Resumption of Bion missions with Bion-M (2013)
- New weather satellites Elektro L (launched in January, 2011) and
Elektro P (2015)
Cosmonaut on EVA (February 2012)
The federal space budget for the year 2009 was left unchanged despite the global economic crisis, standing at about 82 billion rubles ($2.4 billion).
In 2011, the government spent 115 billion rubles ($3.8 bln) in the national space programs.
The proposed project core budget for 2013 to be around 128.3 billion rubles. The budget for the whole space program is 169.8 billion rubles. ($5.6 bln).
By 2015, the amount of the budget can be increased to 199.2 billion rubles.
Priorities of the Russian space program include the new Angara rocket family and development of new communications, navigation and remote Earth sensing spacecraft. The GLONASS global navigation satellite system has for many years been one of the top priorities and has been given its own budget line in the federal space budget. In 2007, GLONASS received 9.9 billion rubles ($360 million), and under the terms of a directive signed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2008, an additional $2.6 billion will be allocated for its development.
Space station funding issues
Due to International Space Station involvements, up to 50% of Russia's space budget is spent on the manned space program as of 2009 . Some observers have pointed out that this has a detrimental effect on other aspects of space exploration, and that the other space powers spend much lesser proportions of their overall budgets on maintaining human presence in orbit.
Despite the considerably improved budget, Wages in the space industry are low; the average age of employees is high (46 years in 2007), and much of the equipment is obsolete. On the positive side, many companies in the sector have been able to profit from contracts and partnerships with foreign companies; several new systems such as new rocket upper stages have been developed in recent years; investments have been made to production lines, and companies have started to pay more attention to educating a new generation of engineers and technicians.
attention of legislative and executive authorities, positive media coverage and broad support among the population, the Russian space program continues to face several problems.
2011: New director
On 29 April 2011, Perminov was replaced with Vladimir Popovkin as the director of Roscosmos. The 65-year-old Perminov was over the legal age for state officials, and had received some criticism after a failed GLONASS launch in December 2010. Popovkin is a former commander of the Russian Space Forces and First Deputy Defense Minister of Russia.
2013-2015 reorganization of the Russian space sector
As a result of a series of reliability problems, and proximate to the failure of a July 2013 Proton M launch, a major reorganization of the Russian space industry was undertaken. The United Rocket and Space Corporation was formed as a joint-stock corporation by the government in August 2013 to consolidate the Russian space sector. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said "the failure-prone space sector is so troubled that it needs state supervision to overcome its problems."
Three days following the Proton M launch failure, the Russian government had announced that "extremely harsh measures" would be taken "and spell the end of the [Russian] space industry as we know it."
Information indicated then that the government intended to reorganize in such a way as to "preserve and enhance the Roscosmos space agency."
More detailed plans released in October 2013 called for a re-nationalization of the "troubled space industry," with sweeping reforms including a new "unified command structure and reducing redundant capabilities, acts that could lead to tens of thousands of layoffs." According to Rogozin, the Russian space sector employs about 250,000 people, while the United States needs only 70,000 to achieve similar results. He said: "Russian space productivity is eight times lower than America’s, with companies duplicating one another's work and operating at about 40 percent efficiency."
Under the 2013 plan, Roscosmos was to "act as a federal executive body and contracting authority for programs to be implemented by the industry."
In 2016, the state agency was dissolved and the Roscosmos brand moved to the state corporation, which had been created in 2013 as the United Rocket and Space Corporation, with the specific mission to renationalize the Russian space sector.
In 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin said "it 'is necessary to drastically improve the quality and reliability of space and launch vehicles' ... to preserve Russia’s increasingly threatened leadership in space."