Vostochny Space Center Construction Back On Track for 2015: Rogozin
12:56 29.12.2014(updated 14:46 29.12.2014)
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin stated that workers at the Vostochny space center are picking up speed to finish the construction on time.
MOSCOW, December 29 (Sputnik) – Workers at the Vostochny Space Center in Russia's Far East are moving quickly to catch up to the original construction schedule and complete the work in time, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Monday.
'At present… we are fully convinced that there are all grounds [to meet the deadline] set by the presidential decree for the first launch of the Soyuz carrier rocket,' said Rogozin, who oversees Russia's defense and space industry.
The construction of a new space center in Russia's Far East, launched in 2012 and initially estimated to cost 400 billion rubles ($7.1 billion at the current exchange rate), is scheduled for completion in July 2015.
The first launch of an unmanned Soyuz rocket is scheduled for December 2015, Rogozin said. Earlier reports indicated that the first of a new generation of rockets using an advanced, more environmentally-friendly engine would carry its first humans into space in 2018.
The project has been plagued by missed deadlines and a corruption scandal involving the former head of one of the project's main contractors, arrested earlier this year on charges of embezzling 1.8 billion rubles (about $32.1 million).
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev replaced the project's senior manager in early December.
Located in the far eastern Amur Region, Vostochny space center is expected to boost the region's economy and reduce Russia's reliance on neighboring Kazakhstan, whose Baikonur Space Center is on lease to Russia until 2050.
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