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Top Russian space boss fired

The Moscow Times is reporting that a top Russian space official has been fired following the 24-hour glitch in the launch of a Soyuz rocket from the nation’s brand-new Vostochny cosmodrome.

Leonid Shalimov, the general director of the company providing the rocket’s control system, has been fired. His dismissal comes after a reportedly furious Vladimir Putin, at the launch site on April 27th, had to wait 24 hours for the problem to be resolved.

The blame was placed on a loose wire, and the Soyuz was successfully launched a day later on April 28th.

Also in the firing line was deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s defence industry, who was publicly berated by President Putin along with the general director of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Igor Komarov.  They have kept their jobs, at least for the moment.

President Putin has now established a 20-person panel of industry experts to investigate the launch and its associated problems.

Shalimov’s colleagues reportedly signed an open letter to the authorities pleading against his dismissal, arguing that the new launch system had to be installed in a short period of time.

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