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Russia Eyes Replacement Spaceport For Baikonur

Beyond Baikonur.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Jan 23, 2008
Russia, whose space programme relies heavily on a base in neighbouring Kazakhstan, is to build its own launch site for manned flights by 2018, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov was quoted as saying Wednesday.

The new Vostochny base in the Amur region of southeast Russia, bordering China, will be an alternative to the Baikonur base, a Soviet-built facility that Russia now leases from Kazakhstan.

"To use a military term, we will open a 'second front,'" Ivanov said, Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and Interfax reported.

"By 2016 the new cosmodrome should be ready for rocket launches of any type and by 2018 it is planned that we will also be able to make manned flights from there," Ivanov said.

"It is linked to ensuring our country's independent access to space. In fact we are building not just a special facility in the Amur region, but a true city."

Russia and the United States run the world's most active space programmes, with manned flights from Baikonur or Cape Canaveral in Florida.

China's Jiuquan Space Centre is the third facility capable of handling manned missions.

The Vostochny base is to be built on the site of unfinished facility previously known as Svobodny at the settlement of Uglegorsk, which is located in a restricted zone.

In 1994, Russia agreed to rent Baikonur from Kazakhstan for 115 million dollars (91 million euros) annually, and this will continue until 2050 under a new agreement signed in 2004 by President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.

However in 2006 Russia said it would withdraw all military personnel from Baikonur for relocation to a rocket launching centre at Plesetsk near Arkhangelsk in northern Russia.

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Russia to stay at Baikonur until 2020
Moscow (UPI) Nov 10, 2007
Russian space officials say they will continue to use Kazakhstan's Baikonur launch site until at least 2020.

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