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UGLEGORSK, January 31, 5:31 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Federal Agency for Special Construction Projects (Spetsstroy) said the construction of the new cosmodrome Vostochny in the Far East was still lagging behind schedule.
“The delay is still there,” Valery Kuznetsov, who heads Spetsstroy’s branch in the Far East, said at a meeting with Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) chief Oleg Ostapenko on Thursday, January 30.
“In order to catch up with the schedule by March 30, we will have to finish pouring concrete on three more floors. But this can’t be done by March 30,” he said, adding that the general contractor had asked for a delay until May 15, citing bad weather conditions.
Spetsstroy earlier reported that it had 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, he said in late November 2013.
“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.
The government has decided to install web cameras at the spaceport construction site to provide 24-hour live broadcasts.
President Vladimir Putin said that the creation of the new spaceport Vostochny in the Far East should reaffirm 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.