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Human resource management key to Russia's space industry reform
by Liu Hongxia, Igor Serebryany
Moscow (XNA) Jul 08, 2013

Since December 2010, Russia has lost five communication satellites and Progress cargo spacecraft carried by Proton-M and Rokot rockets.

The essence of Russian space industry reform lies in the human resource management rather than hardware upgrade, a local expert said in the wake of a failed rocket launch.

"A new generation of workers and engineers must come to the industry. We need people who work not as much for money as for being proud of the outcomes of their work," Igor Marinin, editor- in-chief of the Cosmonautic News magazine, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Those people must be cultivated "gradually and steadily" rather than "purchased" in the labor market in a quick fix way, Marinin said.

A Proton-M rocket carrying three Glonass-M communications satellites exploded shortly after blasting off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, dealing another blow to Russia's disaster-hit space industry.

Since December 2010, Russia has lost five communication satellites and Progress cargo spacecraft carried by Proton-M and Rokot rockets.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said after the explosion that President Vladimir Putin would sign a decree on the reshuffle of the space industry.

Rogozin, head of a governmental commission to draft the proposals on how the limping national space industry could be reformed, said the investigation and penalty on the launch failure would be harsh.

"The decisions will be extremely severe toward those responsible for the failures," he said, adding that the Russian space industry must cease to exist in its current shape.

The Russian government was considering a thorough dismantlement of the current management system in the space industry and replacing it with a simple vertically-integrated space-rocket corporation.

Marinin agreed that the space industry has been terribly complicated, multi-layer and self-duplicating. "As a result, everybody's business is nobody's business."

He, however, cautioned against swift changes as the problems have been mounted for decades.

"Reshuffle of the space industry could be difficult because the industry currently may rely only on the 'old timers'," Marinin said.

"The difficulty steams from a fact that the Russian space agency Roscosmos' top management faces strong opposition from exactly these old-generation employees, who remember how reliable the system was during the Soviet times," the expert added.

It is urgently needed to restore the system of quality control in the space industry enterprises. The government's current plans envisage to do that by 2018, but no one can say how many more failures Russian rockets will suffer by that time, the expert said.

He suggested that "every enterprise be attached an independent, outsourced quality control unit, whose employees would be assigned a very good salary, so they have incentive to remain independent."

The employees must also be given authority to "stop the work in a plant if there is a slightest suspicion that the technology is violated, and they must have an authority to severely fine those responsible for malfunctions," Marinin said.

Source: Xinhua News Agency


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