Rumors are swirling yet again that Dmitri Rogozin, the extremely controversial head of Russia's space corporation Roscosmos, could soon be fired from his position.
The reports are mostly speculation at this point. Official government sources have yet to publicly comment.
But Rogozin is certainly a plausible candidate for turnover. Though he's a notable figure in president Vladimir Putin's "inner circle," he's has garnered a reputation for making rash and provocative statements, even threatening the US on a number of occasions, particularly since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Provocations between members of the international space community have been exceedingly rare, even during the depths of the Cold War. And on a practical level, Rogozin's reckless comments certainly haven't helped as international partners distanced themselves from collaborating with the Russian space program in the wake of the invasion.
In short, Russia's space program finds itself increasingly cut off from the world, and Rogozin is in large part to blame.
"Rogozin has done incredible damage to the Russian civil space industry, and been increasingly belligerent in his relationship with Western space powers," Berger wrote. "Whether he's able to bounce back from this, who knows?"
It's hard what to make of the new reports, though, as it's far from the first time such rumors have surfaced.
"Such rumors appear twice a year since Rogozin became the head of Roscosmos," Moscow-based space reporter Katya Pavlushchenko tweeted. "Of course one day it will happen, but I'm not sure why we should believe these rumors this time."
Pavlushchenko did, however, add that "I must admit that this time the rumors are very 'loud,'" linking to a separate news source corroborating the buzz.
According to the report she pointed to, published by Russian news site Meduza, Rogozin could actually be looking at a promotion, possibly going on to work in the presidential administration of the Russian Federation.
According to Meduza's sources close to the Kremlin, Rogozin could soon become the assistant to the president, putting him even closer in proximity to Putin.
Putin has reportedly met with Rogozin twice since the war started, with the two getting along well.
After all, Rogozin's flavor of brash nationalism is bound to impress a leader who led the unprovoked invasion of a neighboring country.
"[Rogozin] loves shocking and scandalous activity," one of Meduza's sources said, as translated by Google. "He understands that the president likes this kind of behavior, and he plays on it."
The timing is unfortunate, with NASA still planning to go ahead with a planned astronaut seat swap, allowing Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina to travel to the International Space Station on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft in September.
An official decision still has yet to be made with regards to the seat swap, but given Russia's inflammatory rhetoric, the future of collaboration on board the space station is more uncertain than ever.
READ MORE: As rumors swirl about his future, Russia’s space chief darkens his rhetoric [Ars Technica]
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