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LAUNCH PAD
New Vostochny space center a key priority for Russian Far East
by Dmitry Vostok
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Feb 27, 2014


File image.

Work on Russia's new Vostochny space center is a priority for the country, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the Russian space and defence industries said after having toured the facility by helicopter.The space center which is being built in the Amur region in the Far East is to reduce Russia's reliance on the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Alexander Rodin, Senior Research fellow at the Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Science, told the Voice of Russia what makes Vostochny a key facility for Russia.

About 5,000 workers are currently engaged at the site, but that number is to grow to 8,000 later this year. Rogozin said that after the completion of the Olympic Games in Sochi, the facility has become a key one for Russia.

According to the Russian Space Agency, a new site should be commissioned in 2015. The first manned aircraft is due to be launched in 2018.

What makes Vostochny a key facility for Russia? Can it replace Baikonur in the foreseeable future?

I think it is extremely important project for the country because just after the completion of the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia becomes confident that the country will go to a complete large scale infrastructural project. It is very important that this confidence is spread throughout the taxpayers, state establishments, professional community and this gives, I think very important strong boost to the next large project at this Space Center East. By the way, we are quite comfortable with the Baikonur and I think the main reason to concentrate efforts on the building of this new launch pad, not just launch pad but large scale space industrial center and educational center and cultural center is that the need to do something in the Far East as well as Sochi because the motivation of Sochi was not just sport or some resort industry, the motivation was to build modern infrastructure on the Caucasus, the key region of the country. Another key region is Far East because if we want to do anything there not to lose this extremely important territory and I think it is very well understood in the governmental circles as well as throughout the society.

How will Russia lose the Far East? How exactly do you mean?

I don't know, you shouldn't take my words literally. I think that there are huge resources there and economic activity of Russia is now much less active than it should be compared to other players like China, for example, or Japan. I think it is very important for the country to establish a new center of activity in this key region.

First manned spaceflights are to begin in 2018. What are the major tasks to be implemented within this period of time?

It sounds quite too encouraging to me and we know very well that many space projects could be postponed and Russian management of this federal space program actually allows sequential postponing of important projects and I don't think that this date has any real value there. Much more important is that the government declares that this project is of high priority. By the way the location of this launch pad is actually much more convenient than current Baikonur because Baikonur limits the inclination of the orbit. You know that international space station has the inclination about 40 degrees, which is connected with the trajectory of launch vehicles.

Does Russia cooperate with foreign partners in the construction of its new space center, or does it rely entirely on its own experience and technologies?

I am quite sure that the international expertise will be used and is being used. It's related to construction technology, communication technology, environmental technology, everything but economically speaking and from the point of view of management I think it is completely national project.

Source: Voice of Russia

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