SAMARA (Sputnik) — The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket has been sent from the manufacturer in the city Samara to the Vostochny space center for the launch, in a ceremony attended by Russian Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
"This is a very important event… we need our own civilian spaceport, and Soyuz opens this road up for us," Rogozin said.
The Vostochny Space Center is under construction in the Amur Region of Russia's Far East since 2012. Vostochny will enable Russia to launch most missions from its own soil, reducing the country's reliance on the Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan.
Carrier rockets of the Russian Soyuz family of expendable launch systems are the most frequently used in the world, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). Soyuz rockets are currently the only launch vehicle transporting people to the International Space Station (ISS).