16/7 Tass 123
BAIKONUR, July 16 (Itar-Tass) — Plans to launch rockets from Vostochny Cosmodrome, Amur Region, remain unchanged, head of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) Vladimir Popovkin said.
Recently, Popovkin has visited Vostochny Cosmodrome.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, the Roskosmos head said, “I’m convinced that our task – to make the first launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome in 2015 and to make the first manned launch in 2018 – will be fulfilled.”
“Nobody cancelled this term,” he told Itar-Tass.
Commenting on the design of a middle-class rocket with increased lift capacity for Vostochny Cosmodrome, Popovkin said, “The work is underway to specify its characteristics.”
He also said Russia will not use its advantage to take people to the International Space Station (ISS) after the U.S. space shuttle program is finished.
Popovkin said, “We signed contracts with NASA till 2016.”
He noted, “The contracts envision the prise rise due to inflation.” In addition, the Roskosmos head said there was no speculative increase in prices”.
Till 2016 Russia’s Soyuz is likely to be the unique spacecraft to take cosmonauts and astronauts to the International Space Station and back them on Earth. The new American space shuttle should be launched later. “Russia takes higher responsibility for making the ISS function,” he said.
However, Popovkin said, “We know practically all about the near-Earth space. That is why it is time to deal with deep space projects, which must be international.”