Corruption Costs Russian Space Agency $1.8 Billion

The Associated Press

According to reports from Russia’s public spending watchdog agency, Roscosmos, NASA’s Russian counterpart, is experiencing a wave of corruption, resulting in about $1.8 billion worth of financial violations.

Audit Chamber head Tatayana Golikova said “It was an absolute surprise for me. I conducted a budget inspection last year, and now…the number of violations has grown sharply.”

This news comes in the wake of a 35 percent cut to the agency’s funding, necessary because of the country’s deepening financial problems.

On Sunday, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, told media that “We have uncovered acts of fraud, abuse of authority, (and) document forgery.”

He claimed these violations represent a widespread culture of corruption within Roscosmos. He went so far as to blame a recent string of spacecraft accidents on this corruption, saying in a statement “With such a level of moral decay, one should not be surprised at the high accident rate.”

There were two Russian spacecraft accidents in the last month alone. One rocket carrying a Mexican satellite crashed in Siberia on May 16, another other failed to dock with the International Space Station and disintegrated in the atmosphere in late April.

Rogozin also stated that Roscosmos will be abolished and replaced with a state corporation by the second half of 2015, and that the Russian space industry will need another two to three years to be re-equipped.

One of the biggest changes to Roscosmos under its new, corporate identity will be further centralization of the space industry in Russia. Previously, Roscosmos was responsible only for mission planning, while building and designing equipment was handled by outside organizations. Starting in 2015, the new Roscosmos will perform all three tasks.

Rogozin warned that if the Russia space industry could not recover from this scandal, they would lose their 40 percent market share for satellite launches to entities like the private, California-based firm SpaceX.

On March 28, NASA and Roscosmos announced plans for a new space station for when the ISS is retired in 2024, in addition to setting the ultimate goal of a joint mission to Mars. It is unclear if this new scandal will affect the American space agency’s future plans at all.

NASA spokesmen were unavailable for comment when Breitbart News reached out to them.


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