Does Russian Space Czar Dmitry Rogozin Know What He’s Doing?

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Back in December 2011, Vladimir Putin appointed Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin as the special overseer of the nation’s sprawling military industrial complex. His task: clean up the inefficient, failure prone and graft riddled sector and bring it into the 21st century.

The appointment came in the midst of an embarrassing string of launch failures that had infuriated Putin and damaged the nation’s reputation as a reliable launch provider. Fixing the space industry’s quality control problems was one of Rogozin’s top priorities.

Despite his strenuous efforts, launch failures continued to occur regularly in the six years since Rogozin’s appointment. On Tuesday, a Soyuz-2.1b launch failed with a weather satellite and 18 CubeSats aboard.

The continued failures have raised questions about the effectiveness of Rogozin’s efforts. His actions following the launch on Tuesday did nothing to dispel the impression that he may not know what he’s doing.

“Dear colleagues, allow me to congratulate you on the successful launch of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket on behalf of the entire board of the Military Industrial Commission and me personally,” Interfax quotes Rogozin as telling the launch crew, which had lined up on the pad at the new Vostochny Cosmodrome.

“For now, I’d like to thank you for the good and conscientious work you have done. Thank you very much for giving our country an occasion to celebrate. Thank you again and good luck. Hail Russia,” Rogozin said. “Having successfully accomplished the Soyuz-2 mission, we are discussing the second stage of the cosmodrome’s construction. We will build another launch pad several kilometers from here for the Angara-5 heavy-lift rocket.”

Why Rogozin would say such things before knowing the outcome of the flight is anyone’s guess. It’s a cardinal rule in the industry that you don’t declare a launch a success until all the satellites are deployed into their proper orbits and phone home.

Some years ago, Rogozin suggested that the United States use trampolines to launch its astronauts into space. He might consider that for Russia’s future launches. Or finding another job. His efforts to reform Russia’s space industry don’t seem to be bearing much fruit.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Because he is a very good friend of Mr. Putin and has served him well on more important issues, so the Russia press knows not to criticize space while he is running it. So it doesn’t matter what happens to space under his watch, someone else will be sent to Siberia for it.

    Oh, wait, with the new Spaceport they are in Siberia now 🙂

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    No

  • Jimmy S. Overly

    No.

  • duheagle

    Politically reliable toadies or results – pick one.

  • passinglurker

    Oh god he’s like a space-trump an ignorant Twitter raving idiot with way too critical a job for his level of competence.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Russia is probably ‘unfixable’. Until the people of Russia learn to take the raping that their leadership imposes on them and do it sober, they’re going to suffer from these issues. We in the US should not be so smug, we also are having troubles staying sober under similar treatment from our managers. It’s starting to effect the manufacturing and transport industries. Prospective hires can’t pass drug tests in high enough numbers in some sections of the country. Look at Russia, that could be us. As we whither down our middle class with outsourcing and automation then leave the unemployed to wither on their own without any leadership to guide them to new professions and means to maintain their wealth, don’t be surprised if we start looking, acting, and failing like the Russians. And I’m sure like the Russians, we’ll blame the population as a whole, but never the leadership.

  • Jacob Samorodin

    Bigotry!…You crossed the line.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Hardly, saying Russia has a sobriety problem is like saying the drivers at the Indy 500 have a speeding problem. When large cross sections of your society are not sober it effects a societies ability to operate and maintain complex systems. Just because Putin and company are corrupt, does not mean their desire to stamp out corruption in the rest of Russia is not genuine. I believe it is. Hypocrisy comes standard with most leadership cadres. Rogozin has problems to deal with beyond his ability to effect reforms no matter how intelligent or genuine are his intended actions.