New Russian spaceport should be ready in 2022

Putin visits the spaceport

Vladimir Putin briefs himself on the construction work on the Vostochny spaceport. Photo: Ilya Filatov / Paul Sputnik Kremlin / Associated Press / dpa

(Photo: dpa)

The spaceport is located about 6000 km east of Moscow and has been partially operational for about five years. So far, only Soyuz rockets have been launched from there, but according to Rogozin, they should remain in use for a good ten years. More launch ramps are being built so newer types of spaceships such as the Angara can take off. These systems should have been in place a long time ago. According to Rogozin, the launch of the Angara launcher into space is scheduled for the end of 2023.

Acknowledged delays

The director of the company involved in the construction has now acknowledged the delays. Because of the heavy rain, they are falling behind schedule, Rauel Seganchin said. “It is only now that we are starting to work at full capacity.” Construction work on the complex began eleven years ago – at that time also with a time delay.

The space port on the border with China has made headlines for years due to corruption cases. Two years ago, the Kremlin complained about billions of rubles leaking into the dark channels. Most of the money was embezzled to buy machines. It added that in the first phase of the investigation, 128 criminal cases were initiated and more than 30 defendants were convicted.

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“Anything not ready yet will be stolen,” the daily Kommersant wrote in June. According to the newspaper, the new investigations included fake invoices for unavailable services, for example when building a fuel store. Workers at the construction site complained that they were not getting paid. In addition, the deadlines for the start-up of the factories were not met.

Only in March the court halted construction work on the Angara launcher for 90 days. The reason given at that time was a violation of building regulations. For Roscosmos, this was new bad news at that time – its boss Rogosin in particular was repeatedly criticized in this context. At the time, he took over construction management as deputy prime minister in 2014.

The state company talks about one of the most ambitious projects in Russia of the 21st century. “The best specialists of the country” are on duty. The spaceport, located in the taiga, has an area of ​​700 square kilometers – an area roughly the size of Hamburg. Vostochny should bring thousands of jobs to the region.

Strategic importance

Putin’s interest in the construction site, which he last visited in 2019, is due to the strategic importance of the launch site: in the long run, Vostochny should make Russia independent of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where Yuri Gagarin was the launch site. The first person to go into space in 1961. Moscow leases and pays for land in the steppes of Central Asia.

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Vostochny alternative on Russian soil. From there, European space company Arianespace recently brought more than 150 satellites from British telecoms company OneWeb into space. They should ensure better provision of fast internet on Earth. In addition to Baikonur and Vostochny, Russia can also retreat to the Plesetsk spaceport in the north of the country, which is used for military purposes.

Roscosmos to Vostochny Cosmodrome

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