Vladimir Nesterov, tasked with achieving Putin’s space race dreams, dies mysteriously - reports

 (arms-expo.ru / EAST2WEST NEWS)
(arms-expo.ru / EAST2WEST NEWS)

The man tasked with helping Russia reach the Moon has died, according to reports.

Vladimir Nesterov, who developed the Angara rocket and was head of the Khrunichev Centre, passed away at the age of 74.

Vladimir Putin hopes the rocket will help aid Russia in reaching the Moon again and was used in October to launch the Kosmos 2560 satellite.

The cause of his death has not been revealed by officials.

In 2014, Mr Nesterov was accused of allegations of fraud and embezzlement. Authorities had previously accused him of taking £57million and he had arrested pending a further investigation.

Mr Nesterov is the latest high-profile Russian to die in somewhat mysterious circumstances.

MP Pavel Antov, who had been part of the pro-Putin United Russia party, died from a heart attack on December 22.

The 66-year-old had been on a trip to celebrate his 66th birthday in Rayagada, India and, according to local reports, he jumped from a hotel roof.

In July, he posted a story on his WhatsApp messaging app, criticising Russia’s missile attacks on Kyiv as “terrorism” but he later deleted the post.

General Alexei Maslov, 69,  former commander of Russian ground forces with close ties to Ukraine, died “suddenly” the day after Vladimir Putin cancelled a trip to the tank enterprise where he worked as an international sales ambassador.

Alexander Buzakov, 65, director general of Admiralty Shipyards, in charge of building new submarines armed with deadly Kalibr missiles also died suddenly on Christmas Day.

Russian oil tycoon, Ravil Maganov, died after falling from a hospital window in Moscow in September and was just the latest Russian business to have passed away.