It is not just the U.S space agency that is getting new leadership, but Russia is too, as Vladimir Putin has appointed nationalist politician Dmitry Rogozin to be the head of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (Roscosmos).
Rogozin, who was once the leader of a nationalist political party, has served as the deputy prime minister of state corporation Roscomos for the last seven years, during a period that has seen a number of setbacks for the agency including the loss of a number of satellites and other spacecraft.
However, after a reshuffle of the Russian cabinet earlier this month, Rogozin lost his government post, but news that the politician was widely expected to secure the position as head of Roscosmos was already circulating, with Putin reportedly saying that Rogozin would have the opportunity to implement a number of proposals and good ideas that he had already put forward.
”There is a need to look into strengthening the team," Putin said, adding Rogozin would be responsible for selecting experts including "top scientists and organisers" who know the space industry from the inside out.
"I will do everything possible and necessary to meet your expectations," Rogozin told Putin.
The news of the appointment has not gone down well with everyone though, and some have been critical in his selection. “Everything he says is silly from a technical point of view,” said independent space expert Vadim Lukashevich to the AFP. "He is the head of the industry's burial party,” added Lukashevich who also said the the new boss lacked the necessary education and expertise to head the space agency.
How this will affect relations between the U.S and Russia is unknown, as although it is the one area that seems unaffected by other ongoing political crises such as Syria and Ukraine, some now think that tensions might arise after controversial remarks that Rogozin tweeted in the past about ways in which American astronauts might get to the space station, after Washington introduced sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea. Voicing his doubts regarding the future of international cooperation between the two super powers, independent space expert Vitaly Yegorov told AFP that “there will be difficulties here obviously."