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Dmitry Rogozin sacked as boss of Russian space agency Roscosmos

Bluster and hot air do not make for a sustainable space program

Dmitry Rogozin has been dismissed from his post as boss of Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Speculation had been swirling around the space community as Rogozin's emissions on social media and elsewhere became ever more unhinged. A morning announcement from the Kremlin appears to have confirmed that the rumors are true: Rogozin has gone and Yuri Borisov appointed Director General of Roscosmos in his stead.

At present it is not clear if Borisov will continue Rogozin's rich tradition of bluster and buffoonery. US and European agencies NASA and ESA will be fervently hoping not now this particular thorn has been extracted from their sides.

Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in the isolation of Roscosmos from many international projects, Rogozin courted controversy. There was the infamous "trampoline" comment in 2014 when the then-Roscosmos boss speculated how US astronauts might reach the International Space Station (ISS) while the sanctions were levied against Russia. The Space Shuttles had only recently retired.

Other incidents include the mystery hole punched through the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft that some on the Russian side of the ISS project suggested had been drilled on-orbit, or the infamous Nauka incident, when the elderly module took the ISS on a wild ride thanks to a surprise thruster firing shortly after docking.

Rogozin ramped up the rhetoric following Russia's invasion of Ukraine as Roscosmos engineers were withdrawn from the new Soyuz launchpad at Arianespace's French Guiana facility and the next batch of OneWeb satellites were left on the ground at Baikonur.

The former Roscosmos boss also traded barbs with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly earlier this year.

Most recently, there was controversy over the use of the ISS for alleged propaganda purposes (so much so that the usually placid NASA was riled enough to issue a statement complaining about the antics) and a final confirmation that ESA was terminating cooperation with Roscosmos on the ExoMars and Surface Platform missions.

As for what the future might hold for Rogozin, author of Russia in Space, journalist Anatoly Zak tweeted:

In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea in Ukraine.

Rogozin's bluster and creative interpretation of the facts facing the Russian space program must surely merit some sort of reward from the Kremlin. ®

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