Russia's federal space agency becomes state-owned corporation
Vladimir Putin expects the new corporation to steer Russia's space programme and compete in the global market as wellReuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin has disbanded Roscosmos, the country's federal space agency. The agency's responsibilities are being transferred to a state-owned corporation, also called Roscosmos, which will run the country's space program starting 1 January 2016.

In an official announcement, Kremlin said 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".

A change had been in the works since January 2015 when a decision was made to revive the country's space program. Roscosmos, established after the fall of the Soviet Union, has handled the country's space programme and is considered to be one of the most advanced space agencies in the world. It has, for example, helped Nasa astronauts safely travel to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

However, the organisational revamp is believed to be reflective of recent failures, culminating in December with the loss of a Russian satellite. A malfunction had resulted in the inability of the satellite to detach itself from a three-stage Soyuz rocket.

Earlier in 2015, IBTimes UK reported about a corruption scandal which is believed to be the root cause of the space agency's recent failures. An investigation by the country's Audit Chamber revealed misuse of funds amounting to 92 billion roubles ($1.2bn, £850m),according to the government-sponsored media network RT.com.

Commenting on the level of corruption within the federal space agency, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin had stated earlier this year: "We have uncovered acts of fraud, abuse of authority (and) document forgery. With such a level of moral decay, one should not be surprised at the high accident rate."

The new Roscosmos is expected to be run with stricter government oversight. It also hopes to be able to better compete in the global market.