Rogozin Gets Down to Work as New Head of Roscosmos

Rogozin Gets Down to Work as New Head of Roscosmos

Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is the new Director of Russia’s space state corporation Roscosmos.  Famous in U.S. space circles for tweeting that America could use a trampoline to get to the International Space Station (ISS) instead of Russian rockets, he was dismissed from his earlier job by Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after Putin won reelection last month.  He is a controversial individual who has been under U.S. and European sanctions since 2014.

Roscosmos tweeted a photo of Rogozin at a June 4 meeting of the top management of the Center for the Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure (FSUE TsENKI), which manages Roscosmos operations at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia. (Rogozin is seated at the head of the table.)

According to the Roscosmos website (using Google Translate), Rogozin “pointed out a number of problems facing the industry, including restoration of cooperation and coordination between enterprises of the rocket and space industry, preservation and replenishment of human resources, reduction of accidents and other issues.”

Rogozin was placed in charge of Russia’s defense and aerospace sectors in 2011 as part of his duties as Deputy Prime Minister.  He lashed out at earlier Roscosmos directors after various failures and replaced them (Anatoly Perminov in 2011, Vladimir Popovkin in 2013, and Oleg Ostapenko in 2015).  He also led the restructuring of Roscosmos from a government space agency to a state corporation.

Igor Komarov has been the head of Roscosmos since 2015.  The reason for his departure and Rogozin’s arrival was not explained in the Russian media.   Russia’s official news agency Tass said only that Putin had “met with Rogozin and suggested him occupying this position.”

Forbes noted that Putin kept the same inner circle for his fourth term as President except for replacing Rogozin who was “much criticized for incompetence.” Rogozin’s replacement is Yuri Borisov, who was deputy defense minister.

U.S. -Russian cooperation on the ISS has not been affected by the many changes in Roscosmos leadership over the past decade or rising tensions between the two countries since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Rogozin’s appointment as Roscosmos Director, however, involves an interesting twist in that he has been under sanctions by the U.S. Government and the European Union since 2014.  In response to that and other sanctions levied against Russia, he tweeted on April 24, 2014, that “After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry I suggest the US delivers its astronauts to the ISS with a trampoline.”  (Since the U.S. space shuttle program was terminated in 2011, U.S. astronauts have had to rely on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to get to and from ISS.)

He has made other pronouncements via Twitter about not allowing RD-180 engines to be used on U.S. rockets or ending Russia’s support for ISS in 2020, none of which have come to fruition.

Rogozin took over Roscosmos on May 24.  He is not the only new space agency leader.  Also new to their jobs in the past two months are Hiroshi Yamakawa at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) effective April 1, Jim Bridenstine at NASA effective April 23, and Zhang Kejian at the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced May 24.



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