Ostapenko Replaces Popovkin as Russian Space Agency Head

Ostapenko Replaces Popovkin as Russian Space Agency Head

As expected, Russian government officials replaced the head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, today.   Oleg Ostapenko is the new Roscosmos director; he had been serving as Deputy Defense Minister.

Various Russian media sources reported earlier this week that the long-awaited restructuring of the Russian space industry and Ostapenko’s new job were imminent.  Those reports also revealed that Roscosmos will be split into two parts.  One will be in charge of policy and serve as a customer and retain the name Roscosmos.  The other, to be called the United (or Unified) Rocket and Space Corporation (ORKK), will be in charge of the rocket and space industry and headed by Igor Komarov, currently head of the AvtoKAZ plant.  

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin oversees the Russian space sector in its entirety and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday to present the planned restructuring.

The official announcement of Ostapenko’s move from deputy defense minister to Roscosmos director came today.  Russia’s RIA Novosti reported that Rogozin tweeted that “Popovkin went with great dignity.  Ostapenko came with great expectations,” and later tweeted that Popovkin would be offered a top position with ORKK.

A series of Russian rocket failures since December 2010 — most recently in July of this year — undermined Russian government confidence in the space industry and its governance, leading to these reforms.

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