Update: As of late Aug. 16, Krunichev General Designer Vladimir Nesterov had not been dismissed, according to a statement from Khrunichev. “The general director of Khrunichev can be appointed to his post, or dismissed, only by the Russian Federation President,” Khrunichev said in the statement, which was provided by its U.S. commercial Proton sales arm,( ) of Reston, Va. “Since the president has not signed a decree to dismiss him, Mr. Nesterov will continue to act as Khrunichev GD.”
Vladimir Nesterov has resigned as head of Russia’s Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, the company that builds the Proton rocket, after the Aug. 6 failure of a Proton Breeze-M upper stage to launch two telecommunications satellites, Space Policy Online reports.
Nesterov’s resignation came one day after Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met with Cabinet and space agency officials and gave them a month to come up with “practical steps” to fix the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, after its seventh launch failure since December 2010.
Medvedev reportedly said he wanted to know who was responsible for the failures and “establish the level of responsibility for those guilty.”