Difficulties in Planned Soyuz Launches Preparation to Emerge in 2020 - Source

© Sputnik / Alexey Filippov / Go to the photo bankSoyuz MS-10 Launches to ISS from Baikonur Cosmodrome
Soyuz MS-10 Launches to ISS from Baikonur Cosmodrome - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The preparation and holding of planned launches of the Russian Soyuz-2 carrier rockets at Baikonur Cosmodrome will face technical difficulties in 2020, a source in the aerospace industry told Sputnik on Friday.

"In late 2019, one of the two launch sites for Soyuz rockets on Baikonur will be decommissioned. Thus, all the load of over 15 Soyuz launches in 2020 will be placed on the remaining launchpad," the source said.

Soyuz-2.1a rocket being moved to a launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome - Sputnik International
Russian State Commission Approves Soyuz-2.1a Launch From Vostochny Cosmodrome
According to the official, the so-called Gagarin's Start launch launchpad at the site number 1 would be put out of exploitation due to the upcoming decommissioning of the Soyuz-FG rocket.

The source noted that a large number of Soyuz launches planned for 2020 was related to the implementation of the OneWeb internet satellite cancellation project, which would require up to eight launches. Moreover, from five to seven launches of manned missions on Soyuz and Progress spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), as well as several launches of unmanned spacecraft have been planned.

READ MORE: Russian Soyuz-2.1a Rocket With Satellites Blasts Off From Vostochny Cosmodrome

The source continued by saying there was a "bottleneck" in the capacity of the testing facility at the launch site 31, which amounted to 15 rockets per year.

Moreover, the capacity of the platform for preparing the Fregat upper stage for the launch, which is located at the same facility, is low, too, according to the source. The official noted, that it took almost two months to prepare a Fregat for a launch.

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