Russia has fired Dmitry Rogozin, head of state space agency Roscosmos, who was known for making wildly outlandish statements and threats against the US space agency NASA.
“Dmitry Rogozin was dismissed from the post of General Director of the State Corporation “Roscosmos’ after President Vladimir Putin signed the decree late on Friday.
“Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin dismissed from the post of General Director of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos,” read the decree.
He is being replaced by Yury Borisov, Russian deputy prime minister of space and defence.
The news came as NASA on Friday confirmed that it has finalised an agreement with Roscosmos to perform an upcoming crew swap.
Russian cosmonauts will fly on future SpaceX Crew Dragon missions to the space station in exchange for American astronauts flying on Russian Soyuz capsules to the space station.
Rogozin has been in charge of Roscosmos since his appointment as director general in 2018.
He’s been a controversial figure, resulting in strained relations with NASA.
In June, he said that western astronautics are “heading for war”, claiming that the alleged collection of data for Ukraine by private Western companies proves this.
In an interview with Russia 24, Rogozin claimed that private American companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, SpaceX, and others are now tasked with “one specific goal, to ensure the collection of information in real time, both visual, through infrared radar devices, and through conventional surveillance”.
This data is collected for the Ukrainian forces to use “for ballistic missile guidance or multiple launch rocket system operation”, he was quoted as saying.
At the start of the war, Rogozin indicated that Roscosmos might pull out of the International Space Station (ISS) collaboration and cause the ISS to come crashing down to Earth.
In an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel, Rogozin said in May that the decision on the timing of the end of Russia’s participation in the ISS programme has already been made, but will not be announced yet.
“The decision has already been made, we are not obliged to speak about it publicly,” he was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.
Rogozin later said NASA astronauts could use “broomsticks” to get to orbit.
In May, he said that Russia would destroy NATO countries in the event of a nuclear war in half an hour, urging them not to allow such a scenario.
Rogozin was sanctioned by the US in 2014 and barred from entering the country.