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Russian Space Agency Dissolved by Putin

Dec 29, 2015 05:11 PM EST

The Russian Federal Space Agency is being dissolved; earlier this week Russian President Vladimir Putin signed documentation transferring the government's space agency, which is called Roscosmos, and moving its responsibilities to a (new) state-run corporation starting January 1, 2016, as the Russian news agency TASS said.

This has been likely to occur since the advent of 2015 --- that's when the Russian government decided that a government-owned company would take over the space agency's duties, according to Smithsonian. The new company is also called Roscosmos, and the Kremlin has said that for the remaining days of 2015, the government will "ensure the continuity of transfer of the powers and functions of the abolished federal space agency to the state corporation for space activities," Avaneesh Pandey reported in International Business Times.

The space agency Roscosmos was founded after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is, these days, one of the world's most advanced space agencies and is NASA astronauts' sole transportation to and from the International Space Station (ISS), Kelly Dickerson reported in Tech Insider.

The agency has had several major rocket failures, and an investigation by the Kremlin earlier in 2015 concluded that Roscosmos was guilty of corruption and had mishandled funds of possibly 92 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) in 2014, as Dickerson said in the article.

Will there be a difference? "As far as Russia's relationships with the United States and other space-faring countries that work with Russia, I doubt whether this will make a big difference," space policy expert John Logsdon said to Dickerson. "The outcome for space interactions is likely to be mainly the same people operating with a different logo."

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-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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