MOSCOW, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired the head of a space center after the country's string of launch failures, the Kremlin said Monday.
Vladimir Nesterov, general director of the Khrunichev Space Research and Production Center, was dismissed from his current position, according to a presidential decree published on the Kremlin website.
The decree went into force on Aug. 31, said the Kremlin.
Nesterov submitted his resignation in the middle of August ahead of a government meeting on the probe results of an Aug. 6 launch failure, the seventh Russian space mishap since Dec. 2010.
The Khrunichev center is the designer and manufacturer of Proton, Rokot and Angara carrier rockets, as well as Breeze and Baikal boosters. The state enterprise was founded in 1993 and has a workforce of 43,000.
On Aug. 6, a Proton-M carrier rocket failed to put two telecommunications satellites into the correct orbit.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said previously hardships the space industry had been experiencing could not justify the string of failures in recent years and warned he was going to make some decisions on those responsible for the failures.
Analysts believe Nesterov's dismissal may not be the last casualty following sharp criticism from the federal government.
According to the Khrunichev Center website, four of 48 Proton-M launches and one of eight Rokot launches have failed in the period 2008-2012. Malfunction of the Breeze-M boosters have caused four of the failures, the center said.