Putin Appoints New Roscosmos Chief, Accepts Perminov’s Resignation Against Backdrop of GLONASS Launch Failure

Vladimir Popovkin (Russian Ministry of Defense photo)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appointed Vladimir Popovkin, formerly First Deputy Defense Minister, as head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos today (April 29, 2011), replacing Anatoly Perminov.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appointed Vladimir Popovkin, formerly First Deputy Defense Minister, as head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos today (April 29, 2011), replacing Anatoly Perminov.

Putin signed an executive order accepting Perminov’s resignation of head of the Federal Space Agency on the grounds of his having reached the mandatory retirement age for civil servants — 65.

However, Perminov’s replacement has been rumored for some time, following a series of launch failures of Russian satellites, including a Proton rocket carrying three GLONASS satellites last December.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev fired two high-ranking space officials as a result of the launch failure and formally reprimanded Perminov, for not enforcing all the necessary pre-launch safety procedures and failing to spot a mistake in calculations that led to the carrier rocket veering off course and crashing into the Pacific Ocean. The launch failure thwarted Russia’s plan to complete a fully operational GLONASS constellation by the end of 2010.

Medvedev appointed Popovkin, 53 years old, as First Deputy Minister of Defense according on June 21, 2010.  Previously, he served as chief of staff, first deputy Commander Space Force, from 2001 to 2004, and Commander of the Russian Space Force, from 2004 to 2008.

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