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Moscow (UPI) Nov 26, 2012
Russia's far-flung space industry will reorganized into five or six large holdings, the head of the country's space agency says.
Vladimir Popovkin of the Roscosmos Federal Space Agency said Monday the reform would make the troubled industry more manageable.
The country's space industry has suffered a numbers of failures in its mission launch attempts in recent years, including the recent loss of two telecommunications satellites caused by a malfunction of the Proton M rocket launch vehicle.
Russia's space industry grew fractured in the 1990s when it lost most of its government funding, resulting in 130-plus enterprises developing vastly different ownership structures, RIA Novosti said.
A proposed list of industries to get separate holdings includes orbital spacecraft development, in-orbit operation, guidance systems, scientific research, testing and strategic rocketry, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Monday.
Russia selects woman cosmonaut prospect
Anna Kikina, 28, is now the second active spacewoman trainee in Russia after Yelena Serova, who is set to fly to the International Space Station in 2014, RIA Novosti reported Monday.
Kikina, a native of Novosibirsk in western Siberia, said unlike the rest of the recruits going to space was not a childhood dream.
"I decided to try out when I found out an ordinary person now has a chance of going to space," Kikina, an engineer, said as the recruits were introduced to the media in Moscow.
Previously limited to military pilots, engineers employed in the space industry, scientists from the Academy of Sciences and professional medics, the Federal Space Agency opened the recruitment process to all able-bodied Russians with a higher education in 2010.
Being selected as a prospect is not a guarantee of a spot in the cosmonaut ranks, officials said, as some may drop out during the two-year training period.
Russian officials have denied any previous gender discrimination, saying the lack of female cosmonauts in Russia was because of a smaller female presence in military aviation and space industry, the traditional talent pool for space programs.
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