Russian Space Facilities Director Fired in Continued Shakeup Related to Vostochny

Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov (Credit: Roscomsos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The previously reprimanded head of the Russian company that oversees Russia’s ground-based space infrastructure has been fired in a continuing shakeup related to schedule delays and alleged corruption at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

The Board of Directors of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities (TsENKI) voted to relieve General Director Andrei Okhlopkov from his post beginning on Nov. 27. A month earlier, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin had reprimanded him during a visit to Vostochmy.

Okhlopkov had been the head of TsENKI since June 2018. The board replaced him with Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov, a 20-year TsENKI employee who most recently headed up the company’s Barmin Research Institute of Launch Complexes.

TsENKI is responsible for the creation of ground space infrastructure and manages Russian cosmodromes. The company, which is part of Roscosmos, employs more than 12,000 people.

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Officials Arrested in Alleged Vostochny Embezzlement, Bribery Scheme

Work on expanding Vostochny Cosmodrome has commenced. (Credit: Roscosmos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Russian government says corruption has resurfaced at the Vostochny Cosmodrome despite years of efforts to get the problem under control.

Two government officials have been arrested for their alleged involvement in an embezzlement and bribery scheme at the spaceport in the country’s Far East. Russia Today reports:

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Equipment Installation Begins for Angara Launch Complex at Vostochny Cosmodrome

VOSTOCHNY, RUSSIA (Roscosmos PR) — On Thursday, October 15, 2020, the installation of technological equipment began at the Angara launch site of the Vostochny cosmodrome. The Vostochny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) transported large tanks for storing naphthyl from the storage site of the Industrial Construction and Operational Base to the construction site, where the contractor’s specialists began their installation. The tanks are part of the naphthyl filling system.

This is not the first installation of technological equipment at the launch site of the Angara space rocket complex. On December 25, 2019, specialists from TsENKI and contractors completed the installation of large-sized tanks for storing oxygen and nitrogen ahead of schedule. In ten days, in the most difficult weather conditions, 9 unique containers with a volume of 250 m3, each weighing 92 tons and a length of 36 meters, were transported and installed to the construction site.

Ground-processing equipment for the construction of the Angara launch complex has been supplied to the TsENKI branch – Vostochny Space Center since September 2018. Already at the East there are components of 18 systems.

For the storage of ground-processing equipment, the TsENKI branch prepared 5 storage locations on the territory of the Industrial Construction and Operational Base with an area of ​​more than 70,000 m2: these are open areas for storing bulky cargo, and warehouses with the required temperature and humidity conditions. A special site has also been prepared at the launch site itself for unloading and storing equipment.

Heads Continue to Roll in Russian Space Industry

Roscosmos_logoChanges at the top of the Russian space industry have continued as Roscosmos announces a new director for the military projects it oversees, and the acting head of the organization that runs the nation’s spaceport is replaced, according to Russian media reports.

The Moscow Times reports:

Roscosmos deputy head Anatoly Shilov, the man responsible for managing some of the agency’s most sensitive projects — such as military space launches and the development of military and intelligence satellites — will leave the post he has held since 2009, Kommersant reported Wednesday, citing senior space officials.

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