MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced hope that the Russian-US cooperation in space will develop despite difficulties on the Earth.
"We attach great importance and it is pleasant for us that despite whatever difficulties that we face on the Earth people in space work shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, help each other and implement the most important tasks set before not only our countries but before the mankind," Putin said during a video link-up between the International Space Center (ISS) and the Vostochny spaceport.
Putin said space is "a very important area of cooperation with the United States and also with other countries." Tuesday marks 55 years since the Soviet Union sent the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space.
The current ISS crew consists of Russian cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko, Alexei Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, US astronauts Timothy Kopra and Jeff Williams, and British astronaut Timothy Peak. This is the 47th expedition to the ISS, the first module of which, Russia’s Zarya, was launched in 1998.
The president also talked with legendary Soviet cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova and Alexei Leonov.
"The Vostochny cosmodrome is mainly designed for solving global tasks and international cooperation but is located on the base of a former missile division of the Soviet Union. I would like very much that by using all our studies that we have with our partners around the world - in the US, in Japan and with Europe - we would move forward calmly and steadily so that we cooperate together and choose such areas that would help us to bring closer positions and maybe understand each other on the Earth better," the Russian leader said.
"It’s a major priority national project today for us", Putin said. "Not only all the things needed for the successful work of cosmonauts, researchers will be created in this remote region of Russia, but also all the necessary infrastructure, social facilities," the president said. He said a whole town is under construction around the spaceport. "I very much hope that this town will offer very comfortable living and working conditions to those who devoted themselves to space exploration", Putin said.
The world's first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova who is at the Vostochny spaceport, admitted that she was amazed by the construction scale. "We are amazed by what we have seen today," she said. Tereshkova thanked Putin for his support to the national space industry.
Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov who performed the first spacewalk agreed with his colleague. "The complex we are visiting now is a huge integration house, is a wonderful state-of-the art building," Leonov said. The cosmonaut said he was proud to see the results of the national experts’ work. He said he liked the nature and weather at Vostochny.
Putin personally oversees the project of creating the cosmodrome in the Amur region. The first liftoff from Vostochny is set for April 27, 2016. The spaceport occupies an area of about 700 sq. km. and is destined to become the first national facility for civilian space launches, ensuring Russia’s full-scale access to outer space and reducing the dependence of the Russian space industry on the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.ostochny spaceport Russia’s major national project