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28 Aug, 2010 16:27

Russia to build new space launch facility

During his trip to Russia’s Far East, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the ambitious project to build the country’s own space launch facility.

The initiative, first conceived in 2005, will help to mobilize Russia's intellectual resources and industrial potential, RIA Novosti agency reported Putin as saying.

During the conference at the Vostochny Space Center on Saturday, Putin stressed that the new facility must be the last word in space science and technology, and should also incorporate residential buildings and social infrastructures, such as schools and hospitals.

Space analyst Yury Karash says in addition to wanting to contribute to the region’s economic, social and technological development, the decision to build the facility in the Far East has to do with the geographical advantages of the location.

If you look at the location of the future launch pad, you will see that it is relatively close to the equator,” Karash noted. “The closer the launch pad is to the equator, the easier it is to launch payloads into space and the less fuel the space craft will consume to deliver the payload to its orbit.”

The opening of the facility is scheduled for 2018. Up until then, Russia will continue using the Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan, which the latter inherited after the fall of the Soviet Union.