by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Dec 28, 2015
The date of the first space launch from Russia's Far East Vostochny Cosmodrome will be set once all tests are completed, a source in the Russian space agency Roscosmos said Thursday.
Earlier in the day, head of the Russian Progress research and manufacture space center Aleksandr Kirilin said that a Soyuz launch vehicle would be used in the launch from Vostochny on April 25, 2016.
"The date of the first launch [from] the Vostochny Cosmodrome, [currently] under construction, will be determined only after independent and complex tests have been completed," the source told reporters.
According to the source, autonomous tests are continuing at the Vostochny's launch pad and have been completed at the technical area of the Cosmodrome. Complex tests with the Soyuz spacecraft are scheduled to begin in January 2016.
The Vostochny Cosmodrome, located in Russia's Far Eastern Amur Region, is expected to reduce Russia's dependency on the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. Baikonur is on lease to Russia until 2050.
"I hope everything will be done in time. There is a backlog which was large - up to a year and a half. Now it has been cut to four-five-six months. I hope that the first launches will be carried out by the schedule which we had set out, the first quarter of next year," Putin said at his annual press conference.
The Vostochny space center has been under construction in the Amur Region of Russia's Far East since mid-2012. Once Vostochny is completed, it will enable Russia to launch most missions from its own soil, reducing the country's reliance on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The total cost of construction of the Vostochny space center is estimated at 180 billion rubles ($2.9 billion), according to Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).
On October 14, Putin gave his permission to make the first launch from Vostochny in the spring of 2016.
In early November, Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said the state space corporation had signed contracts for 31 commercial space launches, many of which will be carried out from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in 2018-2019.
Source: Sputnik News
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