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MOSCOW, December 12, 22:12 /ITAR-TASS/. A candidate to head Russia’s new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far Eastern Amur Region has been selected and the appointment may be made in January 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday, December 12.
“Preliminarily, there is one candidate. You can count the fitting candidates on the fingers of one hand,” he said.
Rogozin said he and Oleg Ostapenko, the new head of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), intended to have an audience with President Vladimir Putin in January 2014 in order to discuss space plans.
When asked to evaluate Ostapenko’s work, Rogozin said, “All work is still ahead and the most crucial moment is coming.”
He believes that Roscosmos should play the role of system integrator and regulator in the market of space services.
Ostapenko said earlier that the head of the new cosmodrome would be appointed in the first quarter of 2014. “But this is a stretched timeframe. I think we will do it much faster,” he said.
When such sophisticated facilities are built, work has to be coordinated at all levels, and the cosmodrome construction directorate is not enough for that, Rogozin said earlier.
Russia’s Federal Agency for Special Construction Projects (Spetsstroy) has almost eliminated the lag in the construction of the cosmodrome.
“I think we have reduced the lag and are getting back to the initial schedule,” Spetsstroy Director Alexander Volosov.
While in July 2013, the lag was about three months, now it has been reduced to ten days.
“Funding is provided on time and in sufficient volumes,” Volosov said.
The first stage of the project - construction of roads at the cosmodrome - has been completed. The second stage is proceeding as scheduled and is to be completed in December 2014.
As of the end of November 2013, more than 4,000 personnel, 680 pieces of construction equipment and vehicles were working at the site. With personnel working on a rotational basis, the overall number of people involved in the project has reached 5,246.
An academic city may also be built at the Vostochny spaceport. “We may create an academic city near the Vostochny spaceport to develop new projects in the rocket industry,” he said.
Rogozin said that web cameras would be installed at the spaceport construction site. The web cameras will provide 24-hour live broadcasts from the construction site.
The deputy prime minister said the town of Tsiolkovsky, where the spaceport’s personnel will live, would accommodate at least 25,000 people, mainly young people and may become home to “the young design potential.”
Putin said that the creation of the new spaceport Vostochny in the Far East should confirm Russia’s high scientific and technological status.
“The implementation of this project should confirm the high scientific and technological status of Russia,” he said.
In his opinion, the new spaceport should become “yet another strongpoint for the development of our Far East.”
Vostochny should become operational in 2015 and start sending manned missions in 2018.
The comsodrome is intended for launching automatic and piloted space missions under national, international and commercial programmes. Its construction started in 2012 and the first launch is expected to be carried out in by 2015 on board Soyuz-2 light carrier rockets. By 2018, it will be ready to launch heavy Angara-5A rockets. The cosmodrome will also have infrastructure for future piloted missions.
More than 400 social, engineering and transport infrastructure facilities, 115 km of roads and 125 km of railroads will be built at the cosmodrome.
The Vostochny spaceport will launch rockets with onboard computers that are three times more efficient, five times lighter and 3-4 times cheaper than the existing ones, Leonid Shalimov, Director-General of the Yekaterinburg-based Automation Research and Production Association, told ITAR-TASS.
“Delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2015. We have two and a half years to make all equipment. The decision has been made that all rockets will be launched with new computers,” Shalimov said.
The Association is now designing a miniature computer that will weigh around 300 grams.
The new spaceport is to ensure the implementation of practically all forward-looking space projects, including manned missions, a new generation of spacecraft and inter-planetary systems. The construction and use of the spaceport will boost the development of the Russian Far East and make it more attractive to investors, the prime minister said.
Roscosmos said it would be a compact, modern and environmentally friendly spaceport and the propellant to be used in the rockets to be launched from Vostochny will not contain any toxic components.
Experts say that the commissioning of the cosmodrome will allow Russia to carry out independent and more effective space activities, launch more space vehicles, reduce environmental impact, facilitate economic development of the region, create new jobs in related industries, and make the region more attractive to investors.