- Its new Vostochny Cosmodrome, purpose built for dispatching satellites to space, is underused, and its ongoing construction has been scandalised by corruption.
MOSCOW: Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia's troubled space agency Roscosmos, is hardly your typical bureaucrat.
Brash and brazen, the former diplomat has made his name with provocative tweets and boisterous claims.
But he is equally well-known for leading the once-prized Soviet space programme during years of corruption scandals and technological stagnation.
In 2014, Rogozin, then a deputy prime minister in charge of space, responded to Western sanctions on Russia with a tweet suggesting the United States could send its astronauts to space "using a trampoline".
Russia at the time was the only country capable of delivering crews to the International Space Station (ISS), with a seat on its Soyuz rockets costing tens of millions of dollars.
The tweet didn't age well.
"The trampoline is working," US billionaire Elon Musk laughed at a May 2020 news conference after his company SpaceX successfully launched a crew to the ISS.
The launch was a gamechanger and dealt a major blow to Roscosmos and Russia, which had leaned on its ageing but reliable Soyuz launchers to stay essential in the space industry.
Now "the fig leaf has fallen off," Andrei Ionin of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics in Moscow told AFP.
Rogozin's problems don't end there. Russia is also losing its market share in satellite launches.
Its new Vostochny Cosmodrome, purpose built for dispatching satellites to space, is underused, and its ongoing construction has been scandalised by corruption.
Appointed in 2018 as the head of Roscosmos after working as a deputy prime minister -- and before that Russia's ambassador to NATO -- Rogozin is not solely responsible for the setbacks, with many problems dating back long before his arrival.
But the 57-year-old has struggled to return the space programme to the glory days of 1961 when the Soviet Union launched the first man into space -- Yuri Gagarin.
The 60th anniversary of Gagarin's flight is on Monday.