MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Russia has carried out 29 launches of carrier rockets this year - three less than in 2014, and complied with all international obligations on satellite and spacecraft launches, the press service of the Roscosmos State Corporation reported on Tuesday.
In 2014, Russia was the world leader in space rocket launches, accounting for 35% of the world’s space launches.
"In 2015, Russia carried out 29 launches of carrier rockets: 18 launches form the Baikonur cosmodrome, three — from the Guiana Space Center, one launch — from the Dombarovsky launching area (Yasny base in the Orenburg region) and seven launches from the Russian Defense Ministry’s Plesetsk cosmodrome," the report says.
In addition, this year Russia has fully complied with its international launch obligations. "It has launched six foreign spacecraft, successfully launched four cargo spacecraft and four manned spacecraft under the International Space Station program," Roscosmos said.
The press service also said that 17 satellites were placed into orbit in 2015 in the interests of Russia. The modern domestic spacecraft have significantly expanded the country’s Earth remote sensing and communication possibilities.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to abolish the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, the Kremlin’s website said. A state-run space corporation will be created instead, the decree says. "Under the federal law of July 13, 2015 On the State-Run Corporation for Space Activities Roscosmos the Federal Space Agency shall be abolished," the decree said. All documents concerning the agency’s activity will now be applicable to the State Corporation for Space Activities Roscosmos.
Putin instructed the Russian government to ensure the continuity of powers and functions to be handed over from the abolished federal space agency to the Roscosmos corporation, see to it the required liquidation procedures are accomplished within the officially established deadlines and establish guarantees and compensations the dismissed employees are entitled to in accordance with the applicable legislation.
The Cabinet of Ministers is to resolve other financial, material, technical and other issues in connection with the implementation of this decree. The presidential decree will take effect on January 1, 2016.
In early November, Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov said that the corporation signed in 2015 contracts for 31 commercial space launches. A number of these launches will be carried out from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East, he added. "We have signed a record number of contracts on commercial services. Contracts on 31 launches have been signed, and the Soyuz launches, a significant part, we plan to carry out in 2018-2019 from Vostochny," Komarov told Rossiya-24 TV.
The total cost of the construction of the Vostochny spaceport in Russia's Far East is estimated at 180 billion roubles ($2.9 billion), the head of Roscosmos said. "According to experts, the construction of launch facilities at the future Vostochny space center is estimated at 120 billion roubles. However, it is obvious that a cosmodrome is not only launch pads, therefore, in our estimates the total cost could be as much as 180 billion roubles."