All Russian manned space fights will be launched from the Vostochny Space Center in the country’s Far East from 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Saturday.
Ivanov, speaking at the Amur Region site where the new facility is to be built, also said that cargoes and satellites would be launched from the space center from 2015.
Russia currently uses two launch sites for carrier rockets and ballistic missile tests: the Baikonur space center in the CentralAsian Republic of Kazakhstan, which it has leased since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia.
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.
Prime Minister Vladimir 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.
"I hope that the Vostochny Space Center will become the first civilian national space center, and [will] guarantee full independence of Russia's space activities," he said.
VOSTOCHNY SPACE CENTRE, August 28 (RIA Novosti)