Prior to the celebration of the 50th anniversary since Yuri Gagarin's space flight, it became known that the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, Anatoly Perminov, would soon leave his position.
Russia's Vice Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov stated that Perminov's dismissal was only connected with his age. The head of Roscosmos is 65. Ivanov did not specify the date when Perminov is going to step down.
"Mr. Perminov is 65 years old. According to Russian laws, a state official can not be employed at any state position once he is over this age. As for the date, April 15, April 20, April 30 - I do not see any big difference. When NASA's chief Charles Bolden comes to Russia, there will be a person to meet him," Ivanov said on a visit to Washington.
Bolden is planning to come to Russia in just a few days, though. On April 12 he is going to participate in the celebration of 50 years since the first manned flight into space. On April 15, the US official is to take part in a session of a joint US-Russian work group for cooperation in the space industry, RIA Novosti reports.
Mr. Perminov himself reacted to the news normally.
"I have my supervisors. When there's a need for me to change my job, they will let me know," he said on March 11, 2011, when rumors of his possible dismissal appeared in the Russian media.
However, the head of Roscosmos also said in March that he was planning to take part in the work of the above-mentioned work group to discuss the issues of space cooperation between Russia and the USA.
The rumors about Perminov's dismissal began to appear after the loss of three GLONASS-M satellites, which occurred on December 5, 2010. Investigation revealed that the accident occurred because of the incorrect formula in the technical documentation to fill the DM-03 booster block. The three navigation satellites crashed into the ocean off Hawaii.
The committee investigating the accident also said that the satellites were insured for the minimum value, which could not guarantee even a partial compensation for the lost satellites and the booster rocket.
The committee presented the report to President Dmitry Medvedev and Vice Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov. As a result, Medvedev dismissed Energia's chief rocket and space systems designer, Vyacheslav Filin and Roscosmos's deputy director Viktor Remishevsky. Anatoly Perminov, the head of Roscosmos, was reprimanded.
At the end of 2010, Sergei Ivanov accused Roscosmos of disrupting the plan of building new spacecraft. This year, at the end of March, the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation said that it found vestiges of power abuse in the actions committed by the administration of Roscosmos before the launch of three GLONASS-M satellites.
As for Perminov's possible successors, the list of possible candidates includes the Chief of Arms of Russia's Defense Ministry Oleg Frolov, deputy chairman of the Federal Space agency Anatoly Davydov, and the head of Russian Space Systems, Yury Urlichich.