29 March 2001, 10:58

March 29. The guest of our studio — Yuri Semenov, general designer of Space Rocket corporation Energy.

The Voice of Russia has been visited by Yuri Semenov, general designer of the Space Rocket Corporation Energy. He took part in our regular program Vis-a-vis the World. We offer excerpts from the interview. At the beginning of the interview, in answer to a question from Wolney Alves of Brazil, Yuri Semenov spoke of what his Space Rocket Corporation does.

The Voice of Russia has been visited by Yuri Semenov, general designer of the Space Rocket Corporation Energy. He took part in our regular program Vis-a-vis the World. We offer excerpts from the interview.
At the beginning of the interview, in answer to a question from Wolney Alves of Brazil, Yuri Semenov spoke of what his Space Rocket Corporation does. — Quite recently we concluded our work with the orbital station Mir which undoubtedly was an outstanding achievement of the former Soviet Union's space rocket industry. It had no analogues. Today we can say that it was the first international space station. More than 100 cosmonauts from 12 countries worked on its board. It was a unique structure which will undoubtedly go down in the history of space research. Today our corporation is a leading Russian organization as far as the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) is concerned. It is our project. Besides, we produced 12 elements of the International Space Station. We are involved in a unique project of the 21st century, the Sea Launch.
I think that today's program also goes through a satellite of a new generation, Yamal. We built that satellite at the order of Gazprom. We are also the leading organization involved in building the rocket Aurora under an order from Australia. We belong to the contractors of the European Space Agency that are involved in building the space freighter Ethily which is to dock to the Russian segment of the ISS in a few years' time.
Yuri Semenov dwelled in detail on the achievements of the recently liquidated space station Mir which he had designed himself.
- That was a truly unique station. It paved the way for all the orbital complexes. For the sake of justice it must be said that it was the first international space station, not the Alpha, as the USA calls the ISS. I would call it Beta, because all the technical solutions tested on board Mir, such as its modules, its repair capacity, its technical and transport facilities and many other elements, are used at the ISS today. To liquidate the Mir station was a sad job for us, of course, but nothing lasts forever, and it was destined to happen. And our ability to sink it in the appointed area was also a great achievement of our space research.
Jean Lemour of France put the following question: To what extend can the ISS compensate Russia for its Mir station? Is it true that with the liquidation of Mir Russia lost its ability to create super technologies?
- Today the ISS cannot be compared with what we had on board the station Mir. Mir housed more scientific devices than the ISS does now.We must bring the ISS to a level comparable with that of Mir. All depends on the level of funding. Unfortunately, today's level of funding is insufficient to assert that this goal will be reached. As for super technologies, you understand that they always require certain ideas. Today Russia has a scientific and technical potential that can generate very serious ideas. It will depend on the volume and pace of funding whether such ideas are maintained or not. Witness the Sea Launch. Today we are building Aurora; we make communication satellites and do remote sounding of the Earth. Our corporation has an enormous scientific and technical potential. It has accumulated a lot of ideas. In conclusion, in answer to a question from Monser Al Jabarin of Syria, Yuri Semenov spoke of the prospects for developing space research in Russia. — I think that in the next ten years we will see bases on the Moon, an international mission to Mars, the development of outer space. Such large-scale projects can be accomplished only by the world community as a whole. But the key role in accomplishing them will be played by Russia, since we have an enormous experience as far as the length and logistics of space flights are concerned.

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