Prime Minister Vladimir Putin underlined on Saturday the significance of a planned new space center in Russia’s Far East.
“We began talking about the necessity of building such a space center in 2005,” Putin, speaking at the Amur Region site where the Vostochny Space Center is to be built, said.
Russia currently uses two launch sites: the Baikonur space center in the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, which it has leased since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia.
“The creation of a new space center…is one of modern Russia’s biggest and most ambitious projects,” Putin went on. “It will give us the opportunity not only to confirm Russia’s leading technological status…but will give hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young specialists the chance to prove their talents.”
He also said that while Russia had signed an agreement with “friendly” Kazakhstan on the continued use of Baikonur until 2050, the Kazakh center alone was not sufficient for “such a powerful space force as Russia.”
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said earlier in the day that all Russian manned space fights would be launched from the Vostochny Space Center from 2018,
He also said that cargoes and satellites would be launched from the space center from 2015.
The new space center, which will employ 20,000-25,000 people, will ensure Russia's independence in the launch of piloted space vehicles, currently carried out at Baikonur.
Construction is expected to start in 2011, with design and survey work already under way.
Putin said in July that Russia would allocate 24.7 billion rubles (around $811,000) for the next three years for the construction of the space center.
VOSTOCHNY SPACE CENTRE, August 28 (RIA Novosti)