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LAUNCH PAD
Putin Urges Ukraine To Join New Russian Space Center Project

Vladimir Putin visits Kiev. Image courtesy RIA Novosti.
by Staff Writers
Kiev, Ukraine (RIA Novosti) Apr 13, 2011
Ukraine should participate in the construction of the Vostochny Space Center in Russia's Far East, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in Kiev on Tuesday. Russia currently uses two launch sites: Baikonur in Kazakhstan, which it has leased since the end of the Soviet Union, and Plesetsk in northwest Russia.

Putin said construction work at the new space center had already started.

"You can join at the first stage," the prime minister said at a meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych, in response, said there were good prospects for Russian-Ukrainian space cooperation.

The Russian government intends to spend 24.7 billion rubles (around $800 million) on the construction of the Vostochny Space Center, billed as a "new stage in the development of Russian cosmonautics."

The vast facility will eventually include two launch pads, a training center and oxygen and hydrogen generation plants.

Vostochny is scheduled to be put into operation in 2015 and will initially be used for launching cargo spacecraft and satellites. Manned spacecraft will be launched from the space center starting 2018.

related report
Ex-cosmonaut calls on world to unite for Mars flight
The world community should cooperate to send the first manned space flight to Mars, Russian ex-cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin said on Tuesday at an event in the Mexican capital celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first man in space.

Yury Gagarin made the first manned space flight on April 12, 1961, and orbited Earth 108 minutes before landing safely near the Russian town of Saratov.

In answering a question about Russia's future in space, Budarin said much attention is now centered on flying to Mars, adding that presently the Mars-500 program simulating a Mars mission is currently underway in Russia.

"I think that man's first flight to Mars will happen in the mid-term timeline," Budarin told RIA Novosti, adding: "I believe Russia will work closely with the Americans and Chinese [on a flight to Mars]."

The Mars-500 project was launched on June 30, 2010, with six volunteers who will spend 520 days "in space and on Mars."

Budarin touted the Russian government for putting more attention on space programs.

"We are now building our own Russian space launch center, Vostochny, in the Far East and the government has allotted 27 billion rubles ($963 million) on the first stage of construction, and we are planning to finish the project by 2020," Budarin said.

In regard to Gagarin's first flight into space, Budarin said he was only eight years old then and but remembered saying: "When I grow up I will definitely become an cosmonaut."

Budarin's first space flight was in 1995 at the age of 42 as an engineer on board the Mir Station. He flew two more missions in 1998 and 2003, spending a total of 444 days in space and making eight space walks.

Source: RIA Novosti



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LAUNCH PAD
Russia Looks To Grab Half Of World Space Launch Market
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Apr 11, 2011
Russia needs to increase its presence on the global space market and increase its share of launches from 40% to 50%, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. "Our country presently provides up to 40% of all space launches in the world. I believe it is well within our power to increase this share by another 5% or maybe even 10%," he said. He stressed, however, that Russia shoul ... read more







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