MOSCOW REGION, December 23 (RIA Novosti)
Russia's space industry needs an influx of new faces to overcome its current crisis, the head of the Roscosmos agency said on Friday, hours after a satellite crashed in southern Siberia.
“The space branch is suffering a crisis. We must resolve this situation and give way to the youth…Perhaps it's time for reshuffle,” agency chief Vladimir Popovkin said.
Popovkin was speaking after the crash of Meridian dual purpose satellite launched from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia on board a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket. Aerospace Forces spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said the satellite fel to earth just minutes after take-off.
Initial reports said debris was found near the south Siberian city of Tobolsk, but later a police source said that fragments of the satellite were spotted in four residential areas in the nearby Novosibirsk region.
Russia has experienced a number of launch mishaps in the past 13 months.
On 18 August, a Proton vehicle failed to put a communications satellite in its proper orbit.
On 1 February, a Rokot launch also saw a similar outcome.
And on 5 December last year, a Proton carrying three navigation spacecraft fell into the Pacific Ocean. This particular failure is widely believed to have contributed to the decision of the Russian government to replace the then space agency chief, Anatoly Perminov.
Popovkin took over as the head of Roscosmos in April.
The rocket failures come on top of the loss of Phobos-Grunt, Russia's most ambitious planetary mission in decades. It became stuck in Earth orbit after its launch in November and is expected to fall back to Earth next month.
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- rochefortfrancoisDo something00:35, 24/12/2011Russia has sent so many foreign object in the space with no problem. Not so long ago every time russia sends something for itself something wrong happend....
- email@example.comIts tough when things go from bad to worse.06:05, 24/12/2011The good news this week was that the three new cosmonauts arrived safely at the International Space Station.
And they are probably VERY grateful after hearing this unfortunate news about the communications satellite launch.
The problems should not be that hard to fix. The technology for the Russian rockets is sound, it sounds like a manufacturing and quality assurance check.
Could corruption be bringing the rockets down?
ie Paid to fail?
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The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.