Popovkin Wants Leaner Russian Space Industry

Popovkin Wants Leaner Russian Space Industry

Vladimir Popovkin, head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, said today that the Russian space agency must become leaner for Russia to remain competitive in the space sector.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that during a lecture for science and technology students, Popovkin said “Unless we act now — we will cease to be competitive.”  He wants to reorganize Roscosmos into a holding company and cut staffing:  “If today over 250 people are employed, then we calculate that the maximum should be 150-170,” RIA Novosti quotes him as saying.

Russia’s space program has been beset by an unusual number of launch failures over the past year and a half, sparking calls for reform at the highest levels of the Russian government.  Four weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the industry needed “upgrading” and implied that personnel shifts were likely.  Last December when he was Prime Minister, Putin put Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in charge of investigating and fixing the problems in Russia’s aerospace industry.  Current Prime Minister (and former President) Dmitry Medveydev is also involved in determining how to get Russia’s space program back on track, so it really is the highest levels of the Russian government demanding change.

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