Rogozin Reprimands 2 Officials, Fires Another Over Vostochny Cosmodrome Problems

Workers work on a concrete foundation at Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin trekked out to the Amur Region in Russia’s Far East on Friday to check on how construction is proceeding at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The answer was apparently, not real well.

“Following the results of hearing reports at a production meeting at the Vostochny cosmodrome, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin reprimanded Andrei Okhlopkov, Director General of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities, and Vladimir Zhuk, TsENKI Chief Engineer,” Roscosmos said in a press release.

“Prior to that, by decision of Dmitry Rogozin, Evgeny Rogoza, General Director of the Vostochny Cosmodrome Directorate, was fired,” the document said.

Ouch.

The press releases didn’t go into detail about the reasons for the actions. However, the development of Vostochny has been plagued by embezzlement, schedule delays and occasional problems paying workers.

Vostochny is being built to reduce Russian dependence on Baikonur Cosmodrome, which ended up in independent Kazakhstan after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Russia has a long-term lease to use Baikonur.

The slow pace of development has left Russia still largely dependent upon Baikonur. Only five Soyuz-2 launches have been conducted from Vostochny since the first one on April 28, 2016.

Vostochny has a single operational Soyuz-2 launch pad. Workers are currently constructing a launch complex for the Angara family of boosters. Angara has only been launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

“During his visit, [Rogozin] examined the Eastern Command and Measurement Center, which allows control of the spacecraft of the Russian orbital group, the Russian segment of the International Space Station, as well as manned and cargo transport vehicles of the Soyuz MS and Progress MS families,” Roscosmos said.

“At the launch site of the Angara space rocket complex, the general director of Roscosmos heard reports on the progress of work and assessed the pace of construction of a centralized facility, a naphthyl process unit, a command post and a launch facility,” the space corporation added.