Ostapenko Appointed to Run Roscomos

Oleg_Ostapenko (Credit: www.kremlin.ru)
Oleg Ostapenko (Credit: www.kremlin.ru)

As earlier reported, Deputy Defense Minister Oleg Ostapenko has replaced Vladimir Popovkin as the head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, as part of a major overhaul of the nation’s space industry. He will head up a beefed up space agency that will oversee an industry that will be consolidated under a single commercial company.

Wikipedia has a biography of Ostapenko that is excerpted below:

“Oleg Nikolayevich Ostapenko (born 3 May 1957) is a Colonel General in the Russian Military, Deputy Minister of Defence, and former commander of the Aerospace Defence Forces, a position he held from their foundation on 1 December 2011 until his promotion in November 2012. Prior to this he was commander of the Russian Space Forces from 2008, replacing Vladimir Popovkin….

“In 2004 he was promoted to be First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Russian Space Forces and after undertaking a PhD in military sciences he became the commander of Plesetsk Cosmodrome in 2007. A year later on 30 June 2008 he was promoted to be commander of the Russian Space Forces replacing Vladimir Popovkin who became a Deputy Defence Minister. He was commander of the Aerospace Defence Forces from 1 December 2011 to 9 November 2012 and was promoted to the rank of Colonel General on 9 August 2012. On 9 November 2012 he was appointed as a Deputy Minister of Defence and relieved of his command of the Aerospace Defence Forces.”

Popovkin reportedly disagreed on how to restructure the Roscosmos and the space industry. He also failed to stop a series of launch failures that had begun before he took over the space agency in late April 2011. The most recent failure occurred in July when a Proton rocket failed shortly after liftoff, crashing near its launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Russian media have reported that the government plans to consolidate the nation’s space industry under a new entity called the Unified Rocket and Space Corporation (ORKK). Officials are expected to announce that this company will be lead by Igor Komarov,  director of the nation’s largest automaker, AvtoVAZ.