Russia’s space industry in crisis: Official

December 24th, 2011 - 11:00 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Dec 24 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s space industry needs an influx of new faces to overcome its current crisis, the head of the country’s space agency said after a satellite crashed in 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,” Roscosmos agency chief Vladimir Popovkin said Friday.

Popovkin was speaking after the crash of Meridian dual-purpose satellite launched from the Plesetsk space centre in northern Russia on board a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket.

Aerospace Forces spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said the satellite fell to earth just minutes after take-off.

Initial reports said debris was found near the south Siberian city of Tobolsk. Later police said fragments of the satellite were spotted in four residential areas in nearby Novosibirsk region.

Russia has experienced a number of launch mishaps in the past 13 months.

On Aug 18, a Proton vehicle failed to put a communications satellite in its proper orbit. On Feb 1, a Rokot launch also saw a similar outcome.

On Dec 5 last year, a Proton carrying three navigation spacecraft fell into the Pacific Ocean. This failure led to the decision of the government to replace then space agency chief Anatoly Perminov.

Popovkin took over as the head of Roscosmos in April.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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