"Sberbank grants "space" credits", "Vedomosty" newspaper

Yesterday 18.09.2001. Sberbank of Russian Federation declared its intention to render support to national space industry. The Bank started a large-scale funding of the project for enlargement and renovation of the aging national satellite constellation. The project cost amounts to $ 800 mln USD. The biggest Russian satellite communications operator "Russian Satellite Communication Company" has already received two credit lines from Sberbank in the total amount of $ 100 mln USD to prepay for the production of new satellites. Besides, before 2005 nearly 250 mln USD will be allocated to RSCC from the state budget. One month ago a decision was taken at the governmental level to support the project for the development of Russian civil satellite constellation.

Since 1999 Boris D. Antoniuk, Director of RSCC, has more than once tried to draw the attention of the government to the poor state of national civil satellite constellation. As a result of malfunctions of our aging satellites there was a real threat in 2001 that the whole Far East and Northern areas would remain without federal TV programs. However, until recently RSCC has been allocating funds (mostly from its own "pockets") to support production and launching of new satellites while bearing social and governmental burdens (government and law enforcement agencies use about 35% of RSCC services).

In January 2001 Sberbank opened a credit line to RSCC for the amount of $ 48.75 mln. USD. The funds were allocated to order "Express-A" satellite. The satellite will be launched in April 2002. Yesterday 2001.09.18 another credit line was opened for the amount of $ 53 mln USD. All in all, it is scheduled to launch seven new geostationary satellites within 2002-2005 timeframe to replenish and partially replace the outdated and wear and tear civil satellite constellation. Besides, it is necessary to upgrade terrestrial infrastructure (receiving antennas and communication links).

Approximately 15% of expenses under the project for development of civil satellites will be incurred by RSCC from its own financial resources. According to Mr. Vladimir Golikov, Deputy Chief of the Broadcasting Department of the Ministry of Communications and Informatization, "The governmental contribution will be in the form of free-of-charge launches of new satellites by "Proton" launch vehicle designed at the The Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center in the context of Federal Program".

According to Mr. Boris Antoniuk, "Following the implementation of the project RSCC will take the 6th or the 7th place in the world rating among satellite operators (there are 47 operators in total) with the market share running to about 3.5% . Today we take the 16th place with with 1.6% market share. Such substantial increase in our capacities will help us to enter the foreign markets including CIS countries".

"Vedomosty", 19.09.2001
В© Yury Granovsky