The United Rocket and Space Corporation (Russian: Объединенная ракетно-космическая корпорация) or URSC was a Russian joint-stock corporation formed by the Russian government in 2013 to renationalize the Russian space sector. The government intended to do so in such a way as to "preserve and enhance the Roscosmos space agency". The reorganization continued into 2014 with a Sberbank cooperation agreement, and 2015 with a process to merge with the Russian Federal Space Agency to create the Roscosmos State Corporation. Roscosmos Space Agency, as a state agency, was abolished in December 2015 and the Roscosmos state-run corporation took over 1 January 2016.
In announcing the new corporation in August 2013, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said "the failure-prone space sector is so troubled that it needs state supervision to overcome its problems." The name for the organization had first been provisionally floated in July 2013 when—three days following the failure of a Proton M launch—the Russian government announced that "extremely harsh measures" would be taken "and spell the end of the [Russian] space industry as we know it." Rogozin indicated it would be "consolidate[d] under a single state-controlled corporation within a year."
More detailed plans released in October 2013 called for a re-nationalization of the "troubled space industry," with sweeping reforms including a new "unified command structure and reducing redundant capabilities, acts that could lead to tens of thousands of layoffs." The Russian space sector employs about 250,000 people, while the United States has about 70,000 people working in the field. "Russian space productivity is eight times lower than America’s, with companies duplicating one anothers’ work and operating at about 40 percent efficiency."
In December 2013 President Putin issued the presidential decree setting up the corporation. The decree stipulated that the corporation will take over manufacturing facilities from the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).
The President of Energia, Vitaly Lopota was removed from his post as president on August 1, 2014. Dmitry Rogoziin indicated that this was the start of "Long-awaited personnel reform in [the Russian] space industry ... Tough times require tough decisions."
In November 2014, it was announced that one part of the URSC charter is to increase the relative wages of those who work in the Russian space sector in order to attempt to counteract the low productivity and brain drain that has been hindering the industry. The average space industry employee was then paid ₽44,500 per month (US$900, or approximately US$10,000 per year). URSC projected that the Russian space sector would employ 196,000 people by 2016. URSC's publicly-stated long-term goal in late 2014 was to increase productivity of the space sector, threefold while doubling real wages by 2025.[needs update]
When formed, the company included most companies and design bureaus, save for some defence companies. The corporation initially consisted of nine federal unitary enterprises to be turned into open joint-stock companies. The URSC's authorized capital included the shares of 13 other companies. Subsequently, each of them was expected to contribute 100 percent of their shares minus one share to the new corporation's authorized capital. The corporation was 100 percent state-owned.
By August 2013, United Rocket and Space Corporation planned to acquire a controlling interest in rocket-engine manufacturer Energia, of which the Russian government previously owned a 38 percent interest.
"The consolidation [of the Russian space industry] will absorb 33 space organizations, including 16 enterprises. The main focus will be on subcontractors and suppliers."
Following the URSC formation announcement, Oleg Ostapenko, the head of Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, proposed in November 2013 that a new heavy lift launch vehicle be built for the Russian space program. The rocket would be intended to place a payload of 100 tonnes (220,000 lb) in a baseline low Earth orbit and is projected to be based on the Angara launch vehicle technology.[needs update]
Even the Russian mainstream press have called this a radical reorganization of an important Russian industry. For example, RIA Novosti called it a radical centralization of the Russian space industry.