Putin Appoints Mr. Trampoline Man to Head Roscosmos

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

Well, it’s official.

Dmitry Rogozin, who presided over a sharp decline in Russia’s space program for seven years as deputy prime minister, has been named as head state corporation Roscomos.

Putin said Rogozin knows the industry and would strengthen the space company’s leadership. The Russian president also said the new Roscosmos head would have the opportunity to implement a number of good ideas and reforms.

Others, however, see potential trouble ahead.

“Everything he says is silly from a technical point of view,” independent space expert Vadim Lukashevich told AFP.

Lukashevich said Rogozin, 54, was an outsider and lacked the necessary education and expertise to head the space agency.

“He is the head of the industry’s burial party.”

Another independent space expert, Vitaly Yegorov, said he was concerned about the prospects for international cooperation.

Space exploration is one of the few areas where cooperation between Russia and the United States has not been wrecked by tensions over Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.

Putin appointed Rogozin to oversee the space program in 2011 amid a series of launch failures. (He also oversaw the defense sector.) The failures continued throughout his tenure as the number of Russian launches declined in the face of competition from SpaceX.

In 2014, the United States placed Rogozin under sanctions as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. In response, he suggested American astronauts reach the International Space Station using a trampoline instead of Soyuz Russian spacecraft.

  • Michael Halpern

    well I don’t think Russia’s space industry will be bouncing back any time soon

  • Douglas Messier

    The reporting out of Russia on space is fragmentary and lacking in depth. Very closed program. The opposite of the US.

    Did Rogozin make things better, worse or did he just kept the program from sliding further in the abyss?

    I don’t see how consolidating everything under a govt corp makes them more competitive. And I don’t know how an industry functions with about 20 out of every 100 rubles siphoned off. There’s always fraud and waste wherever you go, but that level is very high in a budget that isn’t that big to begin with.

  • Michael Halpern

    I was making a trampoline joke..

  • Douglas Messier

    Oh frak! Sorry….Oh man totally missed that….

  • duheagle

    Generally speaking, when you poke the Russians their reflexive response is to centralize power and control. SpaceX has been poking the Russians with increasing vigor for several years now.

    Rogozin’s new job is, in some ways, a demotion as he was previously a Deputy Prime Minister and now he’s not. But he retains control of Roscosmos and also keeps some of the defense portfolio including tactical and anti-aircraft missiles.

    From the U.S. perspective, we should sincerely hope he manages to do for tactical and anti-aircraft missiles what he has already accomplished for the Russian “civilian” space program – spread the rot. Pity he wasn’t given the strategic rocket portfolio as well.

    The fact that this notorious loser is still in a senior position – albeit a somewhat diminished one with a less grandiose title – illustrates that the Putin administration in Russia is now facing the same basic problem also staring the U.S. Democratic Party squarely in the eye – lack of a “bench.”

  • Lee

    Don’t forget, this is the guy who’s favorite answer when asked why the Russian space program is having problems is:

    “Russia is a poor country, surrounded by enemies”

    Uh, ok.

  • 76 er

    So Igor Komarov, the previous Roscosmos chief gets the sack. Maybe he wasn’t sycophantic enough?

  • Terry Stetler

    Roscosmos: where old Soviet careers go to die.

  • duheagle

    Russia is a poor country. And it is surrounded by enemies. And every one of those enemies is one that Russia has made for itself. Karma’s a bitch.