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Putin delays first launch, raps officials, but sets ambitious goals for new spaceport

By The Siberian Times reporter
14 October 2015

Vostochny's debut blastoff will be next year, hopefully spring, a delay of at least four months.

'You should plan the first launches for 2016, for spring.' Picture: kremlin.ru

It is Russia's biggest construction project, a new cosmodrome on the eastern edge of Siberia, some 5,500 kilometres from Moscow. President Vladimir Putin's visit on Wednesday confirmed the open secret that the initial launch will be next year, in April at the earliest, and not in Decemeber 2015 as originally planned. 

He also insisted on his visit to the Far East of Russia that corruption allegation against officials involved in the spaceport must be pursued with vigour. But he made clear as the US announces its ambitious programme of space exploration that Russia intends to use Vostochny to maximise Moscow's own plans.

'We plan to develop the space launch centre for carrying out manned space flight programmes and for launched heavy rockets and perhaps even super-heavy rockets,' he said. 'I say 'perhaps' because most of you taking part in today's meeting know that we need to think about the actual workload this would offer and the need to make this programme economically justified. 

Putin visits Vostochny


Putin visits Vostochny

'Space activity is not an area for acting in a rush or exerting super-efforts, it needs rhythmic work and quality.'  Pictures: kremlin.ru

'These are future plans, but we need to start thinking about them now. Of course, we hope to develop international cooperation too. We already have broad international cooperation, and we need to make sure that our partners get the chance to see for themselves that Vostochny is one of the best places for working together. We will develop the centre's capabilities.'

The cosmodrome in the taiga is fast taking shape despite delays, as our pictures show, but Putin made clear there have been blunders, and that the problems need to be addressed at what TASS news agency called his 'pet project'. 

'If we want to carry out these ambitious plans, we first need to settle a number of big and important tasks,' he warned, alluding to 'problematic issues'. 'There has been progress, but even so, not all of the issues have been resolved yet,' he said. He praised deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin for 'a big effort personally to reduce these delays. 

'Before, the work was around eight months behind schedule, but this is now down to four months on average for the different facilities. This is still substantial.'

The Russian president criticized the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos and state-owned companies overseeing the construction for a poor control of the sub-contractors. 'You should pay special attention to the qualification of the staff you employ here because we're seeing a significant amount of construction defects here,' he said.

Vostochny cosmodrome


Inside the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far East of Russia - exclusive pictures


Inside the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far East of Russia - exclusive pictures


Inside the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far East of Russia - exclusive pictures

The cosmodrome in the taiga is fast taking shape despite delays, as our pictures show, but Putin made clear there have been blunders. Pictures: Igor Ageenko

'I am expecting Roscosmos and Spetsstroy of Russia to make a report on reasons for the delays and setbacks. I also want to hear your opinion on the realistic date of the commissioning of this facility and the first launch.'

He told space officials: 'You should plan the first launches for 2016, for spring. If you do that by the Day of Cosmonauts (12 April), that will be good. If not, there is no need for rushed work.' The first manned launch from Vostochny on Russia's new generation of Angara rockets is still a decade away, officials have already made clear. 

Putin warned: 'Space activity is not an area for acting in a rush or exerting super-efforts, it needs rhythmic work and quality... just do the math and say what the optimal time is'.

Rogozin said that mid-April was a realistic target. He said: 'We know that, unfortunately, there are suspicions of criminal actions, crimes. I am saying suspicions as the investigation has not yet been completed, but I'll demand from the Investigative Committee (in charge of major criminal investigations in Russia)  that all work in the criminal cases that have been initiated be brought to an end and these cases be passed to courts.'

Comments (3)

Putin putting on his Kim Jung-un rap style of chat. Do as I say & do it now & report back & why have you not got it finished & em..."What time is lunch? I'm starving"!
Jaker, Dundalk
19/10/2015 08:12
0
1
In less thn two decades, Russian high speed train will reach Vostochny.

If everything goles well by then Russia could save the $ 120 million it país every year to Kazakhstan for Baikonur, anda the $ $ 300 million which the 25,000 Russian citizens are now apéndig every year in Kazakhstan, will be spent on Amur oblast.

So that means an annual injection of $ 420 million in the Russian economy
Enrique, Spain
18/10/2015 05:26
0
0
A new version of the Buran shuttle program would be interesting...and the last Buran spaceship should be restored for permanent exhibition in Vostochny.

Roscosmos has increased productivity during the last decade while the productivity from NASA rocket launches declined for seven years, so Roscosmos did A great job for the recovery of the Russian space program.
Enrique, Spain
18/10/2015 05:17
0
0
1

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