Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a decree abolishing Roscosmos — one of the most advanced space agencies in the world and currently NASA's only way to get astronauts to and from space.
A state-run corporation will replace Roscosmos effective Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
"Under the federal law of July 13, 2015 on the State-Run Corporation for Space Activities Roscosmos the Federal Space Agency shall be abolished," the decree reads, according to TASS.
The decision to abolish the space agency came after a Kremlin investigation earlier this year. That probe accuses Roscosmos of misusing about 92 billion rubles (about $1.8 billion) in 2014 alone, according to RT.com, a Russian government-funded media network.
Russia's deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin also blamed corruption within the space agency for a string of rocket failures in the past few years.
"We have uncovered acts of fraud, abuse of authority (and) document forgery," Rogozin told the International Business Times UK in May. "With such a level of moral decay, one should not be surprised at the high accident rate."
"You can compare it to the fall of the Roman Empire," Pavel Luzin, an analyst and science associate at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the IBTimes UK. "The Russian space industry is collapsing."
Putin's move is meant to weed out corruption and make Russia more competitive with new private space companies like SpaceX, IBTimes UK reports.
NASA partners with Roscosmos on multiple projects, including the International Space Station and flying American astronauts to and from orbit (for about $75 million per seat). So it's uncertain what impact, if any, the restructuring of Roscosmos will have on US-Russian cooperation in space.
However, space policy expert John Logsdon thinks the switch likely won't bring any radical changes to either side — at least when it comes to day-to-day operations.
"As far as Russia's relationships with the United States and other space-faring countries that work with Russia, I doubt whether this will make a big difference," Logsdon told Tech Insider in an email. "The outcome for space interactions is likely to be mainly the same people operating with a different logo."