On August 2, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued an official reprimand to Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin citing incompetence.

“The head of the federal space agency Vladimir Popovkin must be given a reprimand for improperly carrying out his professional duties,”  Phys Org reported the document to say. The complete text of the reprimand is not currently available.

Popovkin himself inherited his job when his predecessor was ousted in 2011 following a series of launch failures. Officials, however, are indicating that the reprimand has nothing to do with the recent Proton-M launch failure. UPI reported that Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who has oversight of the space industry, tweeted: “Vladimir Popovkin has been reprimanded. … But this reprimand has nothing to do with the recent Proton-M accident.” The timing seems odd, since the investigation into the Proton-M incident just completed.

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.