MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. Three launch sites for the Soyuz-2 carrier rockets will be built at the military cosmodrome Plesetsk in north-western Russia by 2019, Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman for the Aerospace Defense Forces Colonel Alexey Zolotukhin said on Thursday.
"When the reconstruction is completed by 2019, the cosmodrome will have three separate launch sites for the Soyuz-2 medium and light class rockets of the modernization stages 1a, 1b and 1v," he said.
The spaceport currently has only one launch site (launch Unit No 4) for the Soyuz-2 rocket.
It is planned to complete the works on the reconstruction of another facility - Unit 3 - a separate launch complex, by 2017, said Zolotukhin. According to him, dismantling of the ground equipment used for launching the Molniya-M and Soyuz-U rockets that are currently out of service is nearing completion. A total of 72 facilities are to be built and another 26 reconstructed during the work.
"In addition, to ensure reliable and safe implementation of the military spacecraft launch programme, it is planned to complete by 2019 the reconstruction of the cosmodrome’s another launch site that had been used for the Soyuz-U carrier rockets. The preparatory works for the reconstruction of this launch site at the Plesetsk space centre are already underway," the spokesman said.
The Plesetsk cosmodrome is located in the northwest of Russia, 180 km from the city of Arkhangelsk. Founded in 1960 as a test base for intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic missiles, since 1968 the spaceport is included in international space programmes. Until the 1990s, about 40% of the world’s space launches were carried out from this spaceport. The Plesetsk launch facilities are designed for all types of the domestic light and medium class carrier rockets - Tsykon, Kosmos-3M, Soyuz. The cosmodrome’s resources will make it possible in the future to carry out launches of the newest Angara heavy-lift rockets.