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Putin has turned Russia's space agency into a state-run spaceflight corporation

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is dissolving the country's Federal Space Agency, known as Roscosmos, and turning it into a state-run corporation, according to a statement by the Kremlin. That means Roscosmos will transform from a solely government-funded agency into a company that's overseen and partially backed by the government. It allows the organization to pursue the country’s overarching space goals while additionally conducting commercial affairs like other private spaceflight companies. The move is meant to fix an agency that has been plagued by corruption and major financial scandals.

The transformation will take effect on January 1st, 2016, thanks to a decree signed by Putin today that finalizes a bill signed into federal law in July. All documents pertaining to the agency's activities will be transferred to the new company, and the powers and functions of the agency should also remain the same, according to the decree. However, Roscosmos will go through some restructuring, and any employees who are let go during the agency's liquidation will be guaranteed "compensation in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation."

Roscosmos has been plagued by financial scandals, money troubles, and corruption for years

The decision to dissolve Roscosmos was approved by Putin in January of this year, as a way to shake up an agency that has been dealing with financial scandals, money troubles, and corruption for years. Construction of Russia's next big launch site, the Vostochny Cosmodrome, has been continuously delayed due to budget troubles. And in 2014, it was revealed that Roscosmos committed financial violations totaling more than $1.8 billion, according to Russia's public spending watchdog agency.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the agency's poorly handled finances are also responsible for many of Russia's spacecraft accidents since 2010, including the failure of a Russian Progress resupply ship earlier this year. "We have uncovered acts of fraud, abuse of authority (and) document forgery," said Rogozin, according to the International Business Times. "With such a level of moral decay, one should not be surprised at the high accident rate."

The transition to a state-run corporation is meant to address these financial issues and improve the agency's management, according to the Kremlin. As a state-run corporation, Roscosmos will be able to compete and strategize with many of the nation's private companies, all while being overseen by Russia's federal government. It's unclear if such a restructuring will be able to salvage Roscosmos, which has ambitious plans of landing humans on the Moon in 2029.