Premier slams Russian space chief over poor performance

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MOSCOW. August 2. KAZINFORM Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev officially reprimanded the head of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) for incompetence Friday, the government press service said.

Vladimir Popovkin has headed Roscosmos since April 2011.

In July, Russia's 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 Roscosmos for launching only 47 percent of Russia's required number of satellites into orbit in 2010-2012.

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

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

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