Khrunichev Joins Energia in Getting New Leadership

Khrunichev Joins Energia in Getting New Leadership

Khrunichev State Research and Space Production Center has a new President today (August 7) as Russia continues to reform its space sector in the wake of a series of rocket failures and corruption allegations over the past several years.  Andre Kalinovsky is replacing Alexander Seliverstov, who took over the company less than two years ago.

Seliverstov has been reassigned to the United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC), created last year to consolidate and reform the space industry.  Igor Komarov, CEO of URSC, said in a press statement (translated via Google) that “Khrunichev is in a difficult situation … To address systemic problem, [we] need new people” and Kalinovsky will “I think, be able to ensure efficient operation and restructuring of the company.”  (An abbreviated version of the press release is posted on Khrunichev’s English-language website, but does not include the comments from Komarov.)   Kalinovsky comes to Khrunichev from Sukhoi Civil Aircraft where he was named President in January 2013. 

Khrunichev builds many of Russia’s launch vehicles, including Proton and its Briz-M upper stage, both of which have suffered a number of failures since December 2010.  The most recent Proton failure in May 2014 was apparently due to a failed bearing in the Proton’s third stage.  The Proton has not yet returned to flight.  On a brighter note, Khrunichev’s new Angara rocket had a successful suborbital test flight last month.

The change at Khrunichev follows a similar decision last week to replace the head of RSC Energia, the largest and probably best known Russian space company (among its many products are space station modules and Soyuz spacecraft).   On August 1, RSC Energia announced that, after electing URSC’s Komarov as the new chairman of its Board of Directors, the Board “decided to suspend the powers of Vitaly Lopota, President, General Designer of RSC Energia.”    Vladimir Solntsev was named acting President.  Solntsev has been Executive Director of Energomash, an Energia subsidiary that manufactures the RD-180 rocket engines used by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket.  In the announcement, Komarov praised Lopota’s seven years of service as head of RSC Energia and revealed that Lopota will become URSC’s Vice President for Technological Development.

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