Russia’s President Vladimir Putin believes Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome is obsolete, RIA Novosti quotes him as saying.
At a press-conference focused on construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome, President Putin expressed hope the facility would be widely used by other nations. “I hope it will be used by space agencies of the USA, Europe and other nations. We plan to accommodate manned launches as well and to work on deep space projects. It took a long time to choose a place for the launch center and the work to construct is in full swing”, Mr. Putin said.
When speaking about Baikonur, President said it would be further used by Russia. However, according to him, the cosmodrome was built in Soviet times and is obsolete. “We are aligning projects so that Baikonur could be also used. Surely, we will be exploiting it in partnership with space experts and agencies of Kazakhstan”.
According to him, first launches from Vostochny are scheduled for 2015, with manned flights to be launched from 2018. “Superheavy rockets might be launched from 2020. The initial plan was to launch rockets up to 55 tons, but space specialists believe heavier ones could be also launched”, he elaborated.
“Here at Vostochny we expect a higher cost-effectiveness … The place is closer, which means less roads and less railroads as well as less other infrastructure-related factors … It is expected to be cheaper and more effective from the costs perspective”.
Besides, President Putin suggested the town accommodating the new launch center be named after Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, one of the modern cosmonautics founders. “It will be a full-fledged space science center, a city, rather than merely a launch center”.
The works to construct the new launch center in the Far East of Russia started July 1, 2012. The cosmodrome is to use middle, heavy and superheavy rockets.