MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) – Completion of some facilities at Russia’s new Vostochny cosmodrome will be delayed by up to two months, but the first rocket will nevertheless blast off from the Far Eastern spaceport on time in 2015, an official said Tuesday.
The Vostochny cosmodrome is intended to reduce Russia’s reliance on Baikonour, the world’s first gateway to space located in the steppes of southern Kazakhstan and now leased by Moscow. The initial launches at Vostochny are scheduled for 2015, while the entire space center is scheduled for completion by 2020, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said in April.
“Today, according to our calculations, the delay to some of the facilities is up to 20-30 days, and for others up to two months,” Alexander Busygin, who heads Federal Special Construction Agency Spetsstroi, told RIA Novosti.
“We have no other options, we have to ensure the first rocket launch in 2015,” Busygin added.
He did not specify the facilities in question, and blamed the hold-ups on delays with paperwork at Russian space agency Roscosmos, and by disputes over pricing during construction.
On August 21, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense and aerospace industries, slammed the slow progress of construction at Vostochny and said the delays amount to “sabotage.”
Vostochny will host 45 percent of Russia’s space launches and all its manned flights from 2020, while Baikonur’s share will fall from 65 percent to 11 percent, with the remainder going to Plesetsk in Russia’s far north, according to Roscosmos. The spaceport covers over 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) in the Far Eastern Amur region, it said.
Russia and Kazakhstan have been in dispute in recent years over the amount Moscow pays for use of Baikonur, prompting Astana to limit the number of rockets Russia launches from it.