“Of course, we hope for international cooperation, it is already pretty large-scaled today, but we need that our partners to be sure that the Vostochny Cosmodrome is one of the best places for joint work. We will increase its capacity,” Putin said during a meeting.
Vladimir Putin on Wednesday gave his permission to make the first launch from the newly-built Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s Far East in 2016.
"Plan for the first launches in 2016, somewhere in the spring. If we do this before Cosmonaut Day [April 12], that would be great," Putin told Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the space industry.
Rogozin promised the first launch would be held in April of next year. "We’ll make it by mid-April," he told Putin during a meeting.
The space port is being built near the village of Uglegorsk in Russia's Far Eastern Amur Region.
Up to 130 construction companies are involved in the state-funded project as subcontractors, Putin said, adding that they were loosely controlled. He urged those in charge to assure the quality of construction works and screen specialists on the task force.
The president said construction was roughly four months behind schedule and thanked Rogozin for overseeing a four-month improvement on the initial eight-month delay. He said those found guilty of criminal violations would be brought to justice.
Putin added that he hopes for international cooperation in the space industry at the new Vostochny Cosmodrome.
"Of course, we hope for international cooperation, it is already pretty large-scaled today, but we need that our partners to be sure that the Vostochny Cosmodrome is one of the best places for joint work. We will increase its capacity," Putin said during a meeting.
Russia hopes that the Vostochny space center will help the country reduce its dependence on the Baikonur cosmodrome, leased from Kazakhstan for $115 million per year. The construction of the space port, extending to an area of 700 square kilometers (270 square miles), began in mid-2012.