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KHABAROVSK, July 28 (Itar-Tass) — To meet the deadlines for the commissioning of a new cosmodrome in the Far East, “it is necessary in the coming months to create a solid developer base here, to maximally use the capacities of enterprises of the Far Eastern region, to form the energy infrastructure,” RF President’s Plenipotentiary Representative in the Far Eastern Federal District Viktor Ishayev said on Thursday during a visit to the zone of ·· the Vostochny Cosmodrome (Eastern Spaceport) construction.
Ishayev believes it is necessary “spread a special procedure in matters of construction, planning and funding” of Vostochny facilities. “Such a precedent has been created at construction sites of the APEC summit in Vladivostok,” he said.
“The spaceport will become a point of economic growth in the Amur region,” said the presidential envoy.
Ishayev believes that the top priority task is to accommodate people, as 10,000 people will be working here already in 2012. They need shelter, food, medical care. A separate single-industry town for at least 30,000 people will grow in the Amur region.
The presidential envoy, together with the region’s governor Oleg Kozhemyako, representatives of the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos), Federal Agency for Special Construction (Spetsstroi) and other agencies inspected from a helicopter the Vostochny construction zone, sites for the ground infrastructure facilities, as well as a number of facilities of Uglegorsk that will be preserved for the use at the new spaceport. Deputy Director General of the Centre for Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities Operation (TsENKI) Vladimir Ivanov told them about the survey work progress.
The participants in the meeting on the Vostochny Spaceport construction discussed the issues requiring urgent solution.
The spaceport will be located at an area of 700 square kilometres; about 1,600 facilities will be built there. The construction work will be launched in September 2011. However, the main construction volume is planned for the second quarter of 2012. The entire engineering and social infrastructure is to be created in 2.5 years.
The first launches of cargo spacecraft from the Vostochny Spaceport are scheduled for 2015. Launches of manned spacecraft are planned starting from 2018.
The Vostochny Cosmodrome is intended to reduce Russia’s dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is located in Kazakhstan. Its construction is expected to be completed in 2018.
The cosmodrome will be located in the Svobodny and Shimanovsk districts of the Amur region, on the watershed of the Zeya and Bolshaya Pyora Rivers. The nearest city is Uglegorsk. Vostochny’s geographic location at 51 degrees north means that, to a given orbit, rockets will be able to carry almost the same amount of payload, as they can when launched from Baikonur. Other arguments for choosing this location include the ability to use sparsely populated areas and bodies of water for the rocket launch routes; proximity to major transportation networks such as the Baikal-Amur Mainline, the Chita-Khabarovsk highway; abundance of electricity production resources in the area; and the presence of the infrastructure of the former Svobodny Cosmodrome, on which the new spaceport will be based. The site’s location close to the Pacific Ocean will allow for easier transport of materials to the site, and will allow rockets to jettison their lower stages over the ocean.
It is planned to build seven launch pads at the site, including two for manned flights and two for space freighters. The first unmanned launch will take place in 2015. Russian engineers are looking to apply the knowledge gained from building the Soyuz launch facilities in Kourou spaceport and the Angara pad at Naro Space Centre in South Korea. As a cost-saving measure, no defensive military structures like those at Baikonur cosmodrome will be built at Vostochny.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has made several statements emphasising the importance of the new cosmodrome. “The creation of a new space centre … is one of modern Russia’s biggest and most ambitious projects,” he said in August 2010. In January 2011, he ordered the government to complete the paperwork as soon as possible so that construction can start on schedule.
The work on the construction of automobile and railway roads and of the system of outer energy supply is to be started in 2011. There are also plans to finish developing documentation on the construction of infrastructure objects during the year. The general designer of the cosmodrome is Ipromashprom (Mechanical Engineering Project Institute). The main contractor is the Federal Agency for Special Construction. The new cosmodrome will enable Russia to launch all missions from its own soil, and to reduce Russia’ s dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan. Currently, Baikonur is the only launch site operated by Russia with capability to launch manned flights and satellites to geostationary orbit. The Russian government pays a yearly rent of $115 million to Kazakhstan for its usage. Unmanned payloads to low-earth orbit can also be currently launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in north-western Russia. The new site is intended mostly for civilian launches. Roskosmos plans to move 45 percent of Russia’s space launches to Vostochny by 2020, while Baikonur’s share will drop from 65 percent to 11 percent, and Plesetsk will account for 44 percent.
Development of the Vostochny Cosmodrome is expected to have a positive impact on the economy of the relatively poorly developed Russian Far East. The Russian government has a strategic policy to bring high-tech companies into the Far Eastern region, and several enterprises involved in the manned space flight program are expected to move their activities there when the new cosmodrome is completed. The development of the new site is also expected to dramatically increase employment in the towns of Uglegorsk, Svobodny and others. According to a 2009 estimate, the construction will cost 400 billion roubles ($13.5 billion). Along with the launch pads and processing facilities, an airport and a satellite city will be constructed. The city will be designed to accommodate for 35,000 people as well as for tourists. It will contain a full supporting infrastructure with schools, kindergartens and clinics. Architect Dmitry Pshenichnikov has stated that the city is to become a “one-of-its-kind scientific and tourist space town with a unique design and a beautiful landscape.” When completed, the cosmodrome will permanently employ 20,000-25,000 people.