MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. Russia's Vostochny Space Center, which is under construction in the Far-Eastern Amur region, is significant for Russia because this country does not have any other civilian space center, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday as he addressed nationwide audiences during a regular annual question and answer show.
"Baikonur Space Center is located in another country (Kazakhstan - TASS)," he said.
Russia uses four space launch centers at present - Baikonur, which is located in central Kazakhstan, Plesetsk in the south of the Astrakhan region, and Yasny in southwestern Urals.
The historic launch site at Baikonur in Kazakhstan, where from Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok ship lifted off into space on April 12, 1961, remains the longtime leader as regards the number of launches. More than 1,500 spaceships and probes have been launched from there since the start of the space era.
Construction of the new space center, Vostochny (meaning ‘eastern’ in Russian), in the Amur region is to be completed sometime later this year. The first launch pad will be used for light and medium booster vehicles.
A pad for heavy-duty boosters of the Angara family will be built at Vostochny by 2018. They will be gradually replaced by Proton boosters. In four years’ time, the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos will have the capability to launch all types of space vehicles from the Vostochny site.
Full commissioning of the space center will hopefully take place in 2020.