Putin Fires Russia’s Space Chief

Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency Roskosmos, was fired from his post by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on April 29 and replaced by Army Gen. Vladimir Popovkin, the former first deputy defense minister. Popovkin had overseen weapon procurement.

The official reason for relieving Perminov, cited in Putin’s order, was that he reached the maximum age of 65 for a state servant in Russia. In the meantime, analysts and industry insiders quoted in the Russian media have predicted Perminov’s ouster since December. On Dec. 5, three GLONASS-M satellites failed to reach orbit and fell into the Pacific Ocean after the faulty launch of a Proton-M rocket that carried them.

President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Office of the Prosecutor General to investigate Roskosmos and other space industry companies involved into the Glonass project.

A former chief commander of the Space Forces, Perminov headed Roskosmos since 2004.

Popovkin, 53, headed the Space Forces between 2004 and 2008, when he was appointed as deputy defense minister in charge of weapon procurement.

Moscow – Nabi Abdullaev