Construction of 2nd launch pad at Vostochny Cosmodrome underway
Russian media outlets have reported that construction of a second launch pad at Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s Far East is underway. The new pad, designated Site 1A and dedicated for Angara rocket launches, is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
The state-run TASS press agency reports that the contract for constructing the launch site was recently signed with the Kazan company. The deal, worth about $580 million, will be transferred to the company in two tranches. The agency said the work at the cosmodrome should start in early September 2018.
“The products are to be delivered or works are to be concluded by December 31, 2022,” TASS quotes government documents as indicating.
The new report means another delay for the construction of Site 1A, even though the necessary technological equipment to build the complex was shipped to Vostochny about a year ago. There were plans to begin the construction work in January 2018. That was later postponed to June 2018.
The construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome, which started in 2011, has been disrupted many times by financial problems, corruption scandals, technical difficulties and even by a workers strike. In February 2018, the former boss of a state contractor responsible for the construction of the cosmodrome, along with several ex-employees, was sentenced to prison for mass corruption.
Vostochny has been given a strategic role for the Russian space program as it is expected to reduce the country’s dependency on Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which is currently on lease to Russia until 2050, costing Russia some $115 million per year.
Roscosmos, the state corporation responsible for spaceflight, intends to utilize Vostochny in the future for a variety of launches, including deep space exploration missions. Overall, seven pads are planned to be built at the Far East location.
Currently, only one pad is operational, Site 1S, and has seen three orbital missions so far. The maiden launch was conducted April 28, 2016, when a Soyuz-2.1a rocket delivered a trio of Russian satellites into space.
Given that the construction of Site 1A faces another delay, the date of the first Angara launch from the pad is still uncertain. Earlier reports indicated the first mission could be performed from this complex in 2021.
Tomasz Nowakowski is the owner of Astro Watch, one of the premier astronomy and science-related blogs on the internet. Nowakowski reached out to SpaceFlight Insider in an effort to have the two space-related websites collaborate. Nowakowski's generous offer was gratefully received with the two organizations now working to better relay important developments as they pertain to space exploration.
“Overall, seven pads are planned to be built at the Far East location.” – Tomasz Nowakowski
Some folks might wonder, ‘When might be the maiden flight of the Soyuz Super Heavy launcher? That super heavy launcher is based on elements of the Soyuz 5 Medium launcher.
“Russia’s super-heavy carrier rocket scheduled to blast off for the first time from the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East in 2028 will be a reusable spacecraft, State Space Corporation Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin told TASS on Thursday.”
And, “According to Roscosmos’s estimates, the creation of the super-heavy carrier rocket and the construction of the corresponding infrastructure will cost 1.5 trillion rubles ($22.5 billion).”
From: “Russia to develop super-heavy rocket as reusable spacecraft”
Science & Space August 16, 2018
Yikes! Russia developing the reusable Soyuz Super Heavy launcher and its related infrastructure doesn’t seem to come cheap, does it?
Reading about Russia building the “strategic” Vostochny Cosmodrome reminds me of the Super Heavy Energia launcher for various payloads up to 100 tonnes, including the Buran and Polyus. ‘Obviously’, such space systems were products of ‘extinct’ Cold War I thinking and newer high tech versions ‘will not’ be built during our Cold War II.
“The development of the Buran began in the early 1970s as a response to the U.S. Space Shuttle program. Soviet officials were concerned about a perceived military threat posed by the U.S. Space Shuttle. In their opinion, the Shuttle’s 30-ton payload-to-orbit capacity and, more significantly, its 15-ton payload return capacity, were a clear indication that one of its main objectives would be to place massive experimental laser weapons into orbit that could destroy enemy missiles from a distance of several thousands of kilometers.”
And, “Soviet officials were also concerned that the U.S. Space Shuttle could make a sudden dive into the atmosphere to drop bombs on Moscow.”
From: “Buran programme” Wikipedia
“The Polyus spacecraft (Russian: Полюс, pole), also known as Polus, Skif-DM, GRAU index 17F19DM, was a prototype orbital weapons platform designed to destroy Strategic Defense Initiative satellites with a megawatt carbon-dioxide laser.”
And, “The Polyus spacecraft was launched 15 May 1987 from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 250 as part of the first flight of the Energia system, but failed to reach orbit.”
From: “Polyus (spacecraft)” Wikipedia