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First launch from Russia's new spaceport may be carried out in late April — official

January 20, 11:07 UTC+3
The new federal target program for cosmodromes development is due to be approved by July 1, 2016
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© Igor Ageenko/TASS

TSIOLKOVSKY /Amur region/, January 20. /TASS/. The first launch from of the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket from Russia’s new Vostochny spaceport in the country’s Far East may be carried out in the second half of April, head of the State Corporation for Space Activity Roscosmos Igor Komarov said on Wednesday.

"We suppose that if all the tests are successful, this (the launch) will take place in the second half of April," he said on the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

Acting head of the Federal Space Agency Alexander Ivanov told journalists at the cosmodrome that the launch date would be specified by the state commission based on the results of complex tests at the spaceport’s launch pad area.These tests should begin on March 26.

The construction of the Vostochny spaceport began in the Amur Region on an area of 700 square kilometres in 2012. It is expected to become the first national civilian spaceport to give Russia full and independent access to outer space. It will ease dependence of the national space industry on Kazakhstan’s Baikonur.

The complex includes two launch facilities, an aerodrome, cosmonauts’ flight training facilities, an oxygen-nitrogen plant and hydrogen plant, 115 kilometres of automobile roads and 125 kilometres of railways and other facilities. The first rocket to be launched from Vostochny is to be the Soyuz-2.1a, made by the Progress Rocket and Space Centre. The carrier rocket will place into orbit the Samara satellite Aist-2, the SamSat-218 nanosatellite of the Samara State Aerospace University and the Lomonosov satellite of Moscow State University (MGU). The first launch was scheduled for December 25, 2015. Later it was postponed till 2016.

Russia’s new federal program for spaceports development to be endorsed by July 1

According to Komarov, the new federal target program for cosmodromes development is due to be approved by July 1, 2016.

Some 600 billion rubles ($7.5 billion) will be allocated for the program that will set the goals of developing the infrastructure of spaceports for up to 2025, the official told reporters.

The construction of the first leg of the Vostochny Cosmodrome, in the Russian Far East, will be estimated at almost 120 billion rubles ($1.5 billion), he said.

The new federal target program will envisage the budget for construction of the second leg of the cosmodrome during which the launch pad for the Angara carrier rocket will be built, he said.

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