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.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — With great sadness, Roscosmos announces the passing of Yevgeny Mikrin, Rocket and Space Corporation Energia Designer General – First Deputy Director General, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Soviet and Russian scientist in mechanics and control processes. Yevgeny Mikrin was 65.
His passing is an irreparable loss for Russia’s rocket and space industry, as well as the country’s science.
Yevgeny Mikrin was an outstanding scientist, designer and organizer who immensely contributed into developing the crewed and cargo spacecraft control system development, multimodule space complexes, automatic spacecraft of various purposes. Since 1981 he has worked for Energia.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin briefed the President on the progress in the construction of the second stage of Vostochny Space Centre.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, we met at Vostochny fairly recently, although several months have already passed, and discussed the issues of the industry’s development and the construction of the space centre. What has been done in the past period, which issues remain unresolved, and what is progressing as we agreed?
Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin: Mr President,
I would like to report on the construction of the second stage of Vostochny Space Centre. As you know, the first stage comprised the creation of the launch pad and a technical complex with infrastructure for the Soyuz 2 rocket. The second stage is for the Angara, a heavy load rocket. In accordance with your executive order, we are planning to have the first launch in 2023.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose net worth is reportedly to be as high as $200 billion, is shocked — repeat, shocked — by the scale of the embezzlement during construction of the $1.4 billion Vostochny spaceport. Tassreports
A total of 11 billion rubles (about $169 million) were stolen during the construction of the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East and only 3.5 billion rubles ($53.8 million) were returned to the state coffers, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday….
According to Peskov, “at the first stage, 128 criminal cases were opened, which were later consolidated into 32 criminal cases and at the next stage the Investigative Committee singled out 21 cases and transferred them to the court of law and 18 persons were sentenced at the time,” Peskov said…
The Russian leader spoke about the need to ensure strict, purposeful and transparent spending of budget funds in the defense sphere and noted that he had numerously made similar demands in other areas, including the construction of Russia’s first civilian spaceport in the Far East.
“It has been stated a hundred times: you must work transparently because large funds are allocated. This project is actually of the national scope! But, despite this, hundreds of millions, hundreds of millions [of rubles] are stolen! Several dozen criminal cases have already been opened, the courts have already passed verdicts and some are serving their prison terms. However, things have not been put in order there the way it should have been done,” the Russian president said.
Putin can’t really be that shocked by this situation. For 20 years, he has presided over a country where corruption runs rampant. Putin has diverted billions from the state for the benefit of himself and his allies.
One wonders whether Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin’s job is on the line. The former deputy prime minister took over as head of the Russian space corporation in May 2018.
While serving as deputy prime minister, Rogozin had overseen Russia’s space and military agencies. During that period, corruption on the Vostochny spaceport was rampant and the nation suffered a long string of launch failures.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos State Corporation Director General Dmitry Rogozin took part in the state delegation headed by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin during a state visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
During the trip to Abu-Dhabi the Head of Roscosmos met with Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre management and the first UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori, who has recently returned to Earth after his flight to the ISS as part of the international crew. Hazzaa Al Mansoori stayed at the ISS from September 25 to October 3, 2019.
The meeting participants noted that the first UAE astronaut flight is a historical event not only for his homeland, but also for the whole region.
Moreover, during the visit of Vladimir Putin to Riyadh, Roscosmos and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement of cooperation in crewed spaceflights and global satellite navigation system GLONASS. Among other things, the agreement allows for launching a Saudi Arabian cosmonaut to the International Space Station.
TSIOLKOVSKY, Russia (Roscomos PR) — The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin visited Amur Oblast and held a meeting to discuss the matters of the Vostochny Cosmodrome infrastructure development, as well as on perspective rocket complexes.
Right before the meeting, the President visited the Cosmodrome itself to inspect the objects and get acquainted with the status of the Angara space rocket launch complex construction.
It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Dmitry Rogozin and his team over at Roscosmos. This has been partly due to all the awesome things that are happening elsewhere that keep me busy. And partly due to the fact that Russia’s plans seem to be continuing evolving due to budget cuts to the point to where I’m never quite sure what exactly to take seriously.
The question usually is: yeah, that sounds great, but is there any money for this? I’m lacking in good sources there. And Russian media usually don’t provide enough insights into the program to allow for informed judgments.
With that caveat in mind. TASS has provided another one of its periodic bursts of updates about what Rogozin and company have been up to lately. They are making progress on reusable launch vehicles, a super-heavy booster, a spacecraft that will replace Soyuz, and plans sending cosmonauts and robots to the moon.
MOSCOW (President Putin PR) — Vladimir Putin had a meeting with General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin to discuss the performance and development plans for the space industry.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, let us discuss the space industry’s performance last year and development plans.
General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin: Mr President,
We were working to improve our performance in three fields. The first had to do with the choice of our development priorities. The second concerned the reduction of non-manufacturing expenses by at least 15 percent and increasing the corporation’s revenue by adopting new competences and entering new markets, about which I would like to speak later. We also needed to dramatically improve production discipline at the corporation and all the subordinate agencies. I have introduced a system of the officials’ personal responsibility for budget execution and have taken measures to reduce the corporation’s budget.
Russia is moving ahead with a decade-long, $25 billion (1.6 trillion ruble) program to create new super-heavy launch vehicles capable of lifting up to 100 metric tons into low Earth orbit (LEO), Tass reports.
The new boosters, known as Energia-3 and Energia-5, will incorporate technologies and elements of the Soyuz-5 medium-class rocket, which is now under development.
Soyuz-5 is designed to launch Russia’s new crewed spacecraft, Federatsiya (Federation), into Earth orbit. The Energia rockets will be used for lunar missions.
RSC Energia, which is developing the boosters, plans to test the Soyuz-5 rocket from 2022-25. The super-heavy booster would then be tested from 2028-2035 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Meeting with Executives of State Space Corporation Roscosmos
Vladimir Putin discussed plans for developing the missile and space industry and measures aimed at making the corporation more efficient with the executives of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
I have invited you – this practically new Roscosmos team – to discuss plans for the development of the missile and space industry and specific decisions aimed at making your corporation more efficient.
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.
Dmitry Rogozin, the blunt talking Russian deputy prime minister who once suggested NASA use a trampoline to launch its astronauts to the International Space Station, has been dumped from the government as Vladimir Putin begins his fourth term as Russian president, according to media reports.
Rogozin, who has overseen the defense and space sectors since 2011, was not on a list of government officials submitted to the Duma for approval by Dmitry Medvedev, whom Putin has nominated to continue serving as prime minister.
Rogozin is being replaced as overseer of the defense and space sectors by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.
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.
As Russia unveiled a fancy new 2,000 ruble banknotes featuring the Vostochny Cosmodrome this week, some of the construction workers at the spaceport were dealing with all-too-familiar problem: not getting any banknotes at all.
Construction workers at Russia’s Far East spaceport are staging a hunger strike for the third year in a row demanding salaries that they haven’t received in six months…. (more…)