As it became known to Kommersant, in August at two key enterprises of the space industry - in the corporation "Energia" and the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering - the leadership will change. "Energy" instead of Vladimir Solntseva will be headed by the chief designer of manned space complexes of the corporation Sergey Romanov, and the new director general of the institute responsible for the development of strategic missile systems, instead of Sergei Nikulin will be a native of the Strategic Missile Force, General Sergei Ponomarev. These appointments will complete the first block of personnel changes initiated by Dmitry Rogozin after joining Roskosmos.
In the "Energy" movement began
The first information about the possible resignation of Vladimir Solntsev appeared in December 2017 amid problems with the Angolan telecommunications satellite AngoSat 1, which appeared immediately after the launch of the Zenit-3SLB rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome. Then, according to Kommersant's information, against the dismissal of Mr. Solntsev, despite the harsh criticism of Dmitry Rogozin (supervised by the industry in the rank of deputy prime minister), the general director of Roskosmos Igor Komarov spoke. After Mr. Rogozin headed the state corporation, Mr. Solntsev took part in the launch of the manned spacecraft Soyuz and went on vacation. And on Tuesday, as the source of "Kommersant" in the leadership of Roskosmos, the state corporation received his application for dismissal at his own request. This information, "Kommersant" officially confirmed in the state corporation, specifying that he will leave his post on August 3.
Vladimir Solntsev will lose his post including due to the history with AngoSat-1, two sources in Roskosmos say.
The device was supposed to be launched on November 19, 2016, but under the pretext of the need for import substitution and other technical problems, the terms were constantly shifted. This caused a sharp discontent of the Angolan side. Irritation was also accumulated in the government. It turned out that Energia paid the Ukrainian state enterprise Yuzhmash about $ 80 million for the Zenit missile, but because of the ban on cooperation it did not receive it. Roskosmos had to ask President Vladimir Putin to authorize another Zenit with the Fregat upper stage, located in Baikonur, to launch the Spectrum-RG satellite. The mechanism for the reimbursement of these funds was not proposed. According to Kommersant's information, after the problems started in AngoSat-1, the Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology of Angola José Carvalho da Rocha called several times with Mr. Putin. The satellite did not help: the failure of the new 100-volt power supply system "Asept" (manufactured by AVEX) proved to be critical. Already during the subsequent analysis of flights it was found out that the insurance in $ 120 million does not cover the cost of the new device (the whole contract was estimated at $ 327 million). This meant that the "Energy" will have to independently seek funds for the construction of AngoSat-2.
It was not easier with other projects. So, to develop a new manned spacecraft "Federation" (should replace the old "Unions") was spent about 25 billion rubles. But the finished product never appeared. The initial audit showed that the Federation lacked full documentation, and the contract for composites was concluded with the German plant, which was already closed. Nevertheless, according to a source from Kommersant in Roskosmos, the Federation project will be implemented, but with an eye to using the ship on the Angara-5P missile (launches are planned to be carried out at the Vostochny Space Center).
According to RIA Novosti, Sergey Romanov, the chief designer of manned space complexes, may become the new general director of Energia. His career is connected with "Energy": since 1980 he has passed a way from the engineer to the vice-president of the state commission for conducting flight tests of manned space complexes. He will have to solve the production and financial issues of Energia (the amount of the corporation's debt is 68 billion rubles). Nikolai Sevastyanov, the first deputy general director of Roskosmos, will help him, which, as Kommersant wrote earlier, will head the board of directors of the enterprise in August.
General Director for Solid Fuels
Another sign reshuffle will take place at the Moscow Heat Engineering Institute (MIT). According to two sources in the rocket industry, August 1, the director general of the institute, Sergei Nikulin, will have to terminate a labor contract, which will not be prolonged. "He will become an adviser to the head of Roskosmos," one of Kommersant's interlocutors explained, adding that Sergei Ponomarev, an advisor to Mr. Rogozin on missile warfare, will become the new head of MIT. In "Roskosmos" this information is not officially commented.
Sergei Nikulin took the lead in September 2009, succeeding Yuri Solomonov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who took responsibility for a series of failures with the P-30 Bulava missile system (see "Kommersant" on July 23, 2009). Prior to that, Mr. Nikulin was the general director of OJSC MMZ Vympel, which specializes in the production of equipment for launch and technical missile systems. According to a source from Kommersant in Roskosmos, for nine years, Mr. Nikulin built an effective cooperation within the institute and provided training for the production of serial products. Previous Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov criticized the ITU for unreasonably, in his opinion, inflated prices for products. The difficult geopolitical situation (primarily relations with the USA) helped to save the order, which even under the terms of the treaty on the reduction of offensive arms guaranteed the stable demand for MIT products. According to the commander of the Strategic Missile Force, General Sergei Karakayev, until 2026, RS-24 Yars missiles are planned to be equipped with almost all divisions that have mobile missile systems. In total, according to unofficial information, since 2009 the Strategic Missile Forces have received more than 100 missiles of mine and mobile basing. A source at the main headquarters of the Navy asserts that in the framework of the state program of armaments until 2027 it is planned to increase the serial production of the Bulava ICBM: the capacity of the Votkinsky plant allows the transfer of at least 15 such missiles annually to the military. At the same time, according to Kommersant's information, the military retained, within the framework of the same state program, an order for the RS-26 Rubezh missile systems: it was originally planned to deploy it in 2016 in the Irkutsk missile division, but after a number of consultations this decision was postponed to a distant perspective.
Sergei Ponomarev's tasks will not change in comparison with his predecessor: timely fulfillment of the state defense order and diversification of production (creation of products in the interests of the fuel and energy complex). Mr. Ponomarev's sphere of activity is familiar: he comes from the Strategic Missile Force in the rank of Lieutenant-General, he has supervised the production of military missiles in the Federal Space Agency (and later in the Roskosmos State Corporation) since 2008 and has all necessary permits from the special services.
According to "Kommersant", this is one of the last personnel reshuffles at industrial enterprises, which plans to hold a new leadership of Roskosmos.