Russian Space Chief Has No Plans to Step Down, Roscosmos Says

Russia’s space chief Anatoly Perminov has no plans to retire or resign early, said his spokesman Alexander Vorobyov.

“This issue should be decided by the country’s leadership,” Anatoly Perminov, 65, said today in a statement on the website of the Russian space agency, known as Roscosmos. He was responding to comments by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov to reporters in Washington D.C. that were published today in the official government newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Perminov can’t continue to work in his position because of his age, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported. Russian law sets an age limit of 60 years old for officials, which the president and prime minister have the right to waive.

“The current law doesn’t consider the real physical state of top officials,” Vorobyov, a spokesman for Roscosmos, said by phone. “The Roscosmos chief can do more pull-ups than any candidate for his position who has been reported in media.”

Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported that possible candidates to replace Perminov include the Defense Ministry’s head of procurements Oleg Frolov, and Roscosmos deputy chief Anatoly Davydov.

Russia’s space industry suffered a blow last year when a Proton-M rocket failed to deliver three navigation satellites into orbit for Glonass, a rival to the U.S. Global Positioning System. Medvedev fired Viktor Remishevsky, the deputy head of Roscosmos, and Vyacheslav Filin, the deputy chief of rocket maker RKK Energia, over the loss of the satellites.

Medvedev also issued a reprimand to Perminov. The lost satellites cost 2.5 billion rubles ($90 million), while almost the same amount of money may be spent on building replacements, Perminov told reporters on Jan. 25.

“This was the last straw,” said Yuri Karash, a member of the Russian Space Academy, said by phone on Monday. “Perminov will be out soon. It is the matter of days.”

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