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Putin promises probe into Vostochny spaceport funding suspicions

September 10, 2014, 21:12 UTC+3 MOSCOW
He admitted that “although the project is in the focus of our special attention, problems abound”
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Druzhinin

MOSCOW, September 10. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin promised a police investigation into funding suspicions concerning the new Vostochny Cosmodrome Russia is building in the Far East.

He admitted that “although the project is in the focus of our special attention, problems abound”.

“I will have to hand over some issues to law enforcement agencies to get them sorted out and clarified,” Putin said.

Funding is provided regularly but the funding procedure itself needs special attention, he said, referring to “quasi and semi-criminal schemes”.

He asked Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to think about how to concentrate funding on concrete projects to avoid its being spread thinly.

In early September Putin visited the Vostochny Cosmodrome construction site and said that “all the deadlines must be met and any delay or disruption in funding must be avoided”.

He also warned that “there must be no unjustified increases” in expenditures.

Putin said earlier 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.

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