Who is Russia’s new space chief Yury Borisov?

The former deputy prime minister oversaw the weapons industry and will now lead Roscosmos

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Russia has appointed former deputy prime minister Yury Borisov as the new chief of its space agency, Roscosmos.

He replaces Dmitry Rogozin, who served as director general over the past four years.

Mr Rogozin was known for his anti-West rhetoric, in which he threatened to end the International Space Station partnership several times.

In 2014, he famously said that Nasa can launch its astronauts “on trampolines”, after the US imposed sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea.

After sanctions were imposed against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Mr Rogozin made several threats, including saying that he could drop the space station on the US, Europe and India.

He also stopped supplying American companies with Russian engines, saying they could “fly on their brooms” and posted a video that suggested Russia would leave an American astronaut stranded on the ISS.

A reshuffle was ordered on Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin that included Mr Borisov taking leadership of Roscosmos, though, no reason was given as to why Mr Rogozin was dismissed.

Later on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there were no complaints about Mr Rogozin's performance at Roscosmos and he would receive a new position, Russian state news agency Tass reported.

Mr Borisov, 65, served as Russian deputy minister of defence, overseeing the weapons industry from 2012 to 2018.

He took over from Mr Rogozin in 2018 to serve as deputy prime minister of defence. He served until July 2022.

During his time in the government, he oversaw state policy in the weapons industry, including technological and nuclear engineering supervision, military-technical co-operation with foreign countries and equipping the Russian state border.

What are his plans for Roscosmos?

Mr Borisov has become space chief at a time when Russia’s space programme is experiencing dire effects from the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The EU sanctions placed on Russia mean a decrease in co-operation.

Recently, Europe cut ties with Roscosmos on a Mars rover project that the two were collaborating on.

Roscosmos has removed its rockets and staff from a spaceport in French Guiana, with French company Arianespace no longer using Soyuz rockets to launch its satellites.

OneWeb, a private UK company that is building a satellite constellation, voted to stop using Soyuz rockets after Mr Rogozin refused to launch their satellites unless they cut ties with the UK government.

However, co-operation with US space agency Nasa continues as before, despite the relationship being delicate.

On the same day, Mr Rogozin was dismissed, it was announced that Nasa and Roscosmos had signed an agreement to exchange seats on flights to the ISS.

This means some American astronauts will fly on the Soyuz on coming missions, while Russian cosmonauts will be launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre.

So far, it is unclear the direction Mr Borisov wants to take Roscosmos but, after Russia’s invaded Ukraine, it has been reported that the country’s space programme will likely focus more on militarisation.

Updated: July 16, 2022, 12:52 PM