Medvedev Upbraids Space Agency for Incompetence

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev officially reprimanded the head of the Federal Space Agency for incompetence Friday, the government press service said.

Vladimir Popovkin has headed Roscosmos since April 2011.

In July, the Audit Chamber said the Federal Space Program was ineffective and blighted by poor management and use of funds for space projects. In particular, the chamber criticized the space agency for launching only 47 percent of Russia's required number of satellites into orbit in 2010-2012.

The chamber also blamed the agency for relegating control over major projects to individual state-run or private companies.

Russia's space program has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years, most of them blamed on faulty hardware. On July 2, a Proton-M rocket carrying three Glonass navigation satellites exploded shortly after launch from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

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