MOSCOW, August 15 (RIA Novosti)
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The head of a top Russian rocket company handed in his notice on Wednesday, a day after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reprimanded space officials over a failed satellite launch last month, a government source said.
The resignation of Vladimir Nesterov, head of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center in Moscow, is being processed, the source said.
Speaking at a meeting with top space officials on Tuesday, Medvedev said a string of recent space failures tarnished Russia's image as a "leading space power" and instructed the government to draw up "practical proposals" on how to tighten controls on aerospace production.
In the most recent incident, two telecommunictaions satellites were lost on August 7 due to a failure in the Russian Proton-M rocket's upper stage.
The Khrunichev factory makes Proton-M rockets as well as Briz-M upper stages.
The company declined to comment when contacted by RIA Novosti.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).