WASHINGTON — The Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, has appointed Vasily Sychyov as the acting head of one of the country’s premier space manufacturers, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, the company said Sept. 6.

Sychyov will temporarily fill the post vacated by Vladimir Nesterov, who was relieved of his duties as Khrunichev general director in the wake of an Aug. 7 Proton rocket failure that destroyed a pair of telecommunications satellites. Khrunichev is prime contractor on the Proton, a longtime workhorse for launching government and commercial satellites.

The failure was the second involving the Proton’s Breeze M upper stage in 12 months. Roscosmos is investigating the latest mishap but at press time Sept. 7 had yet to identify a root cause.

A permanent Khrunichev general director will be named by Roscosmos following a “vacancy competition,” Khrunichev said.

Warren Ferster is the Editor-in-Chief of SpaceNews and is responsible for all the news and editorial coverage in the weekly newspaper, the spacenews.com Web site and variety of specialty publications such as show dailies. He manages a staff of seven reporters...