Mentioned in the Energiya official press release: February 5, 2007. Korolev, Moscow region, Sergei Krikalyov was given a new job as Vice-President of Manned Flights; his flight status is unchanged (backup for Soyuz TMA-12 to launch in March 2008, and commander of Soyuz TMA-14 in March 2009). (Discussed in this thread at NASASpaceflight.com.) Various other appointments were made in the organization. There is also speculation that the current President, Nikolai Sevast’yanov, might be replaced, a contender being Yurii Koptev (who was head of Rosaviakosmos in the 1990s, replaced by Anatolii Perminov), as some are unhappy with Nikolai’s performance and his tendency to make outlandish statements about Energiya’s future space exploration plans without the funding to back them up. His appointment was controversial in 2005. There would be problems with Yurii Koptev’s appointment though, as listed in Novosti Kosmonavtiki news №607:
- As he replaced Anatolii Perminov, there might be some latent hostility between the two.
- He is not accustomed to heading a large enterprise like Energiya.
- He made the unpopular decision to deorbit the Mir Space Station, which many would hold against him.
- He is old (born in 1940); Energiya wants to “promote young managers in order to implement long-term space programs.”
The shareholders’ meeting is in May, so see what transpires then.
The deputy director of the Institute of Medical-Biological Problems, Valerii Bogomolov, said Russia had no plans to strengthen the psychological testing of its cosmonauts following the Lisa Nowak case, as the psychological requirements are already at a high level. It is the first time something like this has occurred in the NASA Astronaut Group, and is not related to her space flight which was over half a year ago. In the near future, Russian experts will discuss the case with NASA medical personnel and those of other countries in the ISS program, and advise them to strengthen the psychological requirements when selecting astronauts, as Lisa Nowak’s case has caused unfavorable publicity. It will also not affect the selection of candidates for the Mars-500 isolation experiment.