Sovietsew Look al Space Spending
security of. Coderansmission or the reve-
This documTit oariUinS mformali-in affectingnited States Vithin the meaning of the esj>iona. The law prohibits,
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unclassificd indicate that the SovietB aro concerned about space program costs and nay be taking action to reduce thorn.
The numberspace launches declined slightly during the first nine months0 compared with the firct nino months This suggests that some cuts in space spending may have already taken place, possibly in reaction to current economic problems. Soviet economic growth has slowedrecently and the space program, which along with Soviet defense industries has siphoned off highly skilled manpower and sophisticated machinery, may have contributed to this slowdown.
Technical problems which the Soviets arealso couldactor in the curtailment of space spending. The poor record of theaunch vehicles may betretchout or deferment of the programs these vehicles were to support, leadingecline in annual outlays.
In any case, pressures to arrest the growth of Soviet space expenditures almost certainly will not resultarge cutback in Soviet space The Soviets will probably continue totrong spacein the area of military applications.
Past Trends in Soviet Space Spending
Evidenceecline in Spending
Indications Prom Scientific and
Decline in Space Launch
Future Space Programs
Reasons for a
Problems of the National
Military Competitionesources .
Estimated Soviet Space (chart)
Boris Petrov (photograph) 7
Soviet Spacechart) . 10
US Space Launches and (chart) 11
Past Trends in Soviet Space Spendin<
Early soviet space efforts paid majorational prestige7 with the launching of Sputnik I. The space program did notajor claimant of resources untilowever, when space expenditures for the year reached the equivalent ofillion dollars.* Prior to that time, the program was able to achieve most of its goalselatively' low cost through theof launch vehicles originally developed for use as ballistic missiles.
2 the payloads became heavier andof larger boosters designed specifically for space applications became necessary. Coupled with manned space flight activity, this droveup rapidly until the mid-Sixties (see facing chart).
. Estimated space expenditures continued to growut the rate of growth decreased markedly because much of the development work on large space boosters and spacecraft for manned flight was nearing completion. The declining growth rate also reflected slackening demands for construction funds as the three space launchPlesetsk, and Kapustmtracking facilities neared completion
Soviet space expenditures estimated in this report include both oivil and military programs. The scope Vr r.oaram6 ^ughln matches the combined work of the national Aeronautics and Space Administration (including the Communications Satellite Corporation) and the space related components of the Department of tne Interior, the Atomic Energy Commission, the naJrlZT Scrite"ce foundation, and the Department of Defense. Dollar values are estimates of what the Soviet space program vould have oost if conducted in the uS,
A simple projection of the trend in spending5 would yield an estimate thatwill continue to increase slightly during the next few years. Other evidence, however, suggests that spending for space has leveled off and may oven decline.
Evidenceecline in Spending
There aro several indications which, viewed together, suggest an impending reduction in Soviet spending for space. These include articles in the Soviot press, remarks by Soviet scientists, analyses by the US Embassy and Western correspondents in Moscow,eclining Soviet space launch rate.
A9 article' which received wide publicity in the West indicates that the Soviets are 'seriously concerned with the high costs of their space program. The appearance of this article in the party newspaper Pravda and the fact that itquotationspeech by Brezhnev give it the earmarks of establishing an official "line."
The article was written by Doris Petrov, who as chairman of the USSR Academy of Sciences Council for International Cooperation in Space Research and Utilization (Intercosmos Council)eniorspokesman for the USSR on space. He has written frequently in Soviet journals and his com-ments are accorded considerable publicity by the TASS news service. Petrov was the only scientist to give speeches at the welcoming ceremonies for the cosmonaut crews of Soyuz, and 8. The only
solv^SPf1akerf""bG!tdGS the crew "ambersr, Leonid Brezhnev and Nikolai Podgorny.
In his Pravda article Petrovandid
IS Ln<*ed that "space research is not
i-hl sions which have been advanced
cne national economy,"
than those which can meet these criteria.
to explore the moon by automatic deuces it ill cheaper than exploration by manned flights'
Indications From Scientific and
Sinceeports from additional sources haveossible cutback in funding of the Soviet space program.
with the large expenditures being applied toprogram.
this attitude to the extensive shortage of consumer goods and the success scored by
came to the conclusion that "because of budgetary considerations, the priorityhe [Soviet space) program are being rigidly applied,"d that "there willefinite cutback in theoney, and material allotted to the pure scientific aspec of the space program."
observed thaL Lhc two Soviet cosmonauts who strom endorsed the man-in-^ce efforts of the USSR in their presentations at thepeared to be merely defending the space programs'which be-criticized severely for heavy expenditures."
eluded that -it was clear thatct space program is not going to continue to enjoy expe tures in areas lacking practical application.-
In sun, these reports probably oviet effort to scrutinize more closely the overall space effort and to eliminate programs of questionable value.
Decline in Space Launch
A decline in the rate of space related launches during the first nine months of0 provides another indication that the pressuresurtailment of spending on the space program may be having some effect. Cp to the first of October the Sovietso<.lypace launches, compared withn the corresponding period This contrasts with the general upward trend1 when the Soviets first began launching a significant number of spacecraft. The number of launches conducted during the January-September period over the last ten years is shown in the chart below.
The US launch rate and US annual expenditures Cor space are related, as illustrated in the chart This relationship between launches and spending probably holds for the USSR as well. As in the US, Soviet space launches not onlyajor cost category in themselves but areof the programs under way. It is likely, therefore, that Soviet spending would decreaseecline in the number of space launches.
Some insight into possible reasons l'orecline can be gained by looking at the US launch rate which began to declinehe decline in the US launch rate can be attributed, in part, to development of more reliable spacecraft systems. As the payloads operate with greater dependability
and with fewer component failures, fewer launchesopecific mission. The Soviets, too, are probably nowoint where fewer launches will be. required to support ongoing programs. Both the Soviet weather satellite system and satellite communications system, for example, will require fewer launches per year, to accomplish future missions.
Future Space Programs
Authoritative discussions by Soviot scientists of the future of the space effort imply that the Soviets do not envision programs in the near future which would entail large expenditures. Most of the programs discussed in the Soviet press involvescientific payloads which are relatively inexpensive. The majorarge manned space stationong orbital lifetime, would probably still be less expensiveanned lunar program. Manned planetary missions will probably not occur until the late Eighties nnd accordingly will have little or no impact on the Soviet space budget during the next ten years.
Even if Soviet space expenditures during the next three to five years were to decline somewhat fromillion dollars estimatedhe Soviets could continue totrong space effort. space applications, which currently involve primarily reconnaissance satellites, willajor area of activity, although the improved and longer duration satellites which are now being flown mayecline in the launch rate. Earth orbiting manned missions.will also continue, in additionariety of scientific and applications programs such as weather and communications Nevertheless, both the overall launch rate and Soviot expenditures for space may have reached a peak and may decline in the near future.
Problems of the national Economy
Current economic problems may haveo rGeval"ate the allocation? thee program. Advanced spaceahi9hly skillGd engineers and
eavy consumer of scarce strategic materials, sophisticatedand the most advanced industrial processes.
chae?JhI^sources needed to help SSf fallmg growth rate of the economy. For fewirearsthe Soviets have steadilj in-
oro ? litary' space, and consumer programs, largely at the expense of growth oriented investment At the same tiL. the fiSSS? his
fUrnSnOW ^est^ent. -ial^o^
The dissatisfactionthe Soviet leaders with
therarticles They have appealed for better
and more intensive effort fron. the Soviet workers
e solvednowever, because several years are required io
US Budget CUtS
There are many different factors that influence space expenditures in the two countries, and there is notirect relationship between US and Soviet spending trends. Nevertheless, recent cuts in US space spending may have improved the chances of success of those Soviets who arethe redirection of expenditures from the space effort to
Military Competition foresources
If resources allocated to Soviet military and space programs combined are curtailed becauseecision to divert resources to the national economy, it seems likely that the Soviet space program would absorb the major portion of the cut. Although the space program has since its beginningigh priority, defense of the Soviot Union has been and undoubtedly will continue to be the Soviets' first priority. Among defense expenditures, military has and probably will continue to be given aplace.
Technical difficulties might also contributeslowdown in the Soviet space program. The Jlargest Soviet booster and theto tho Saturnin its attemptedinlowing up on its pad orafter
There has been no subsequent attempt to launch this vehicle.
Thetoey role in many Of the most ambitious Soviet spacenot yet proven toeliable launch vehicle. It hasattern of random componentunctions which may be frustrating Soviet attempts to isolate and eliminate the causes. The Sovietsailure of theid-August engineering test flight whichix month hiatus of SL-12
firings during which efforts were probablyto solve its basic problems. Although the latest6 in mid-Septemberproved successful, it by no meansontinued record of success for this vehicle which has been so sporadic in the past.
Continued problems with theso advanced space boosters may resulttretchout or deferment of programs related to their use, leading to lower annual expenditures for space, oven though long run costs for these programs might be higher.Original document.